Ukrainian Troops Prepare for Large-Scale COVID Vaccination

Ukrainian Troops Prepare for Large-Scale COVID Vaccination

Ukraine has confirmed the start of the vaccination process for COVID-19 at the end of February. According to President Volodymr Zelenskyy’s office, 12 million doses produced by AstraZeneca and Novavax will be supplied, as well as additional vaccines from Pfizer and Sinovac. "We have agreed to supply Ukraine with Pfizer, Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines. The first stage of vaccination will begin this month," announced President Zelenskyy in early February.

“Like any Ukrainian, I look forward to the start of the vaccination process. Twelve million doses are a good signal from our partners, and this will be enough to ensure vaccinations within the first months after the start of supplies,” Zelenskyy continued. "Our doctors, military and National Guard will receive the vaccine."

The Ukrainian armed forces will be among the first in the country to get vaccinated at the end of February. Acting Commander of the Medical Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Serhiy Khalik explained this priority through the information agency of the Defense Ministry ArmyInform. 

“During the first stage of vaccination in the Armed Forces, the servicemen who are holding back the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as persons who are soon planning to rotate, servicemen participating in international peacekeeping and security operations, and medical personnel will be vaccinated,” Khalik said.

In addition to Ukrainian troops on the front line, healthcare workers, the elderly, and patients with severe illnesses will also be first in line for vaccines. This COVID-19 immunization plan was initially approved by the Ukrainian Health Ministry’s coronavirus task force in December 2020. The goal of this plan is to get at least 50% of Ukrainians (20 million people) vaccinated between 2021 and 2022. 

According to Deputy Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer Viktor Liashko, Ukrainian citizens residing in Russia-occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions will also be able to get vaccinated in Ukraine for free. Liashko stated in an online briefing that Ukrainians in Donbas will have access to vaccination points located in Ukrainian-controlled territory and the vaccination will be conducted on a voluntary basis. 

Ukraine will be able to receive 8 million free doses of COVID-19 vaccine thanks to COVAX, a global initiative created by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) to accelerate the development, production, and equal access to tests, treatment, and vaccines against COVID-19.  

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is also supporting Ukraine’s efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The EIB is the world’s largest multilateral lender, and plans to provide Ukraine with 50 billion euros, which will cover the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines and refrigerators for their storage as well as equipping vaccination centers across the country. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal signed an agreement for the aid with the EIB’s President Werner Hoyer at the bank’s headquarters in Luxembourg on February 12. 

Germany has also contributed to Ukraine’s vaccination efforts by allocating 13.1 million euros to medical facilities throughout Eastern Ukraine, including hospitals in Kharkiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, and Kyiv-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. This money will cover the purchase of up-to-date medical equipment, including specialized equipment for treating patients with COVID-19.