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Paid vaccination against Covid-19: Will Ukrainians be allowed to receive vaccine at their own expense?

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

More and more developing countries, which do not have sufficient stocks of anti-coronavirus drugs, involve private companies in the immunization process
17:10, 26 April 2021

Open source

In Ukraine, vaccination against coronavirus infection is free, but not everyone can get an injection. According to the previously approved schedule, vaccinations are given in stages to different categories of the population.

The first stage, which provided for the immunization of doctors and military personnel, is over. Now the second stage is underway, and next month it is planned to move to the third. In total, there are nine such stages in terms of vaccination, and only at the last of them, which falls on November-December of this year, the turn will probably reach everyone.

Similar terms were announced earlier in the Ministry of Health. They say, by the end of 2021, all citizens who want to be vaccinated against Covid-19 will have access to vaccines. "It’s for free", said the head of the department Maxym Stepanov.

However, there are those who do not want to wait for the announced deadlines and are ready to vaccinate at their own expense now, out of the general queue. But how it is possible in Ukraine and whether paid vaccination is practiced abroad?

Paid vaccination in Ukraine: not advisable yet

Initially, and to this day, the Ukrainian authorities are in favor of the appearance of an anti-coronavirus drug on the commercial market. President Volodymyr Zelensky promised back in December last year that paid vaccinations in the country would not be blocked.

“When we talk with companies that will supply vaccines to Ukraine, they ask to open a commercial market for them. This suggests that there is a segment of people all over the world, and our country is no exception, who do not pay attention to the price ... The approach is simple: we will not block paid vaccination. This is wrong. We need to open the market, "the president said in an interview with Focus.

Health Minister Maxym Stepanov suggested in January that the vaccine could appear on the commercial market closer to the summer of 2021.

Prime Minister Denys Shmygal expressed a similar point of view. He expects that this summer, vaccine manufacturers will sell it not only to governments, but also to commercial enterprises.

"In principle, without government support, private clinics and laboratories will be able to vaccinate people for a fee, and this will give a certain opportunity for the tourist stream to travel so that the states are not closed," Shmygal said.

In addition to this, there is also a statement by the Chief Sanitary Doctor, Deputy Minister of Health Viktor Lyashko, in which he indicated that Ukrainians will have the opportunity to vaccinate at their own expense no earlier than the second half of 2021.

However, in the past few weeks, the rhetoric of the authorities on this issue has changed, especially with regard to the timing of the introduction of paid vaccination.

Thus, the Ministry of Health continues to support the appearance of vaccines on the commercial market, but they say that this is not possible yet. Why - Maksym Stepanov explained on March 30 on the air of the Ukraine 24 TV channel:

“We are interested in any vaccine appearing on the commercial market as soon as possible. I always appeal to all pharmaceutical companies: if you have the opportunity, bring those vaccines that we have already registered in Ukraine, we will quickly carry out all the formalities so that it appeared. Another issue is that no vaccine company sells vaccines to the commercial market. "

Viktor Lyashko on April 20 also emphasized that today all manufacturers work only with the governments of states.

"The problem is not whether it is possible to use a paid vaccine or not. Today, all manufacturers primarily work with the governments of the countries. And the governments have provided funds in the budgets for the purchase of vaccines for all groups of people. Ukraine has also provided funds to purchase the required amount of vaccines, "Lyashko said.

The chief sanitary doctor expressed the opinion that the introduction of paid vaccination in Ukraine this year is not advisable.

Paid vaccination abroad. Experience of other states

In fact, most states vaccinate their citizens free of charge. This practice is more common than paid vaccinations.

So, the authorities of Portugal, France, Czech Republic, Belgium, at the very beginning of the immunization campaign, indicated that the population did not need to pay for the vaccine.

Many other states have followed the same path: for example, New Zealand or Australia, which invites its citizens to complain about vaccination providers who charge a fee for any costs associated with getting vaccinated.

Israel - the world leader in the rate of vaccination against Covid-19 - also vaccinates its citizens for free. At the same time, DW writes that the drug produced by BioNTech / Pfizer is much more expensive for Israel than for the EU and the USA. According to various estimates, the country pays between 23 and 40 euros per dose, the EU - 12.

At the same time, there are countries that have given the go-ahead to businesses to import vaccines on their own.

Thailand

In Phuket, to speed up the opening of the tourist season, local businesses were allowed to inoculate the island's population. Thanks to this initiative, 70% of Phuket's population will be vaccinated against coronavirus infection by July, Bloomberg reports.

Within the framework of the state vaccination program, which started in Thailand on March 1, two drugs are distributed free of charge: the Chinese Sinovac and the British AstraZeneca. Now other companies may enter the market. Nikkei Asia writes that at least one pharmaceutical giant headquartered in the United States has already applied for an import license.

The Thai authorities are flexible on this issue and are guided by the following principle: the more the population is vaccinated, the faster the country's economy will recover. The latter, we note, is largely dependent on tourists.

Related: Israel reports dozens cases of myocarditis after second dose of Pfizer vaccine

A single dose of a paid vaccine will cost Thais $ 65-130. Considering that most of the drugs available at this time require two injections, Phuket residents will have to pay from $ 130 to $ 260 for a full immunization.

Pakistan

The country is at the peak of the third wave of coronavirus infection, which the local authorities call more dangerous in comparison with previous ones.

The already difficult situation in the country has been complicated by delays in the supply of vaccines, so last month the government allowed the private sector to import and sell anti-coronavirus drugs, CNN reports.

The state vaccination plan in Pakistan, like in Ukraine, provides for the phased immunization of the population. Now, after the introduction of paid vaccinations, everyone can get an injection, without waiting for their turn.

However, there is also the other side of the coin. The commercial launch of the vaccine in Pakistan has become a litmus test for deep-seated social inequality.

The cost per injection proved to be prohibitive for most citizens, especially for those in rural areas. Thus, two doses of Sputnik V will cost $ 80 here, which is about 30% of the monthly income of an average Pakistani household ($ 273.2).

Indonesia

The authorities have been considering the issue of introducing paid vaccination in the country since the beginning of 2021.

The head of the Indonesian business chamber, Rosan Roslani, in a comment to Reuters compared vaccinations at his own expense to a trip to Disneyland: "If you want to go faster, here's a priority pass, but it will cost more."

As a result, businesses were still allowed to purchase Covid-19 drugs to vaccinate their employees. According to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as of mid-February, more than 5,000 firms decided to vaccinate their workers using this scheme, Anadolu reports. Most of them are textile companies operating at half capacity due to the pandemic.

Vaccine proponents say this will accelerate the rate of immunization in the population and reduce the burden on the government, as companies will cover all the costs associated with injections. However, health experts criticize the scheme, and some even call it unethical.

Uzbekistan

Here, the mass vaccination of the population started only on April 1.

The deputy head of the Sanitary and Epidemiological Welfare and Public Health Service, Nurmat Otabekov, had previously announced that citizens from the risk group would be pricked for free, and everyone else would be able to get vaccinated in private clinics at their own expense.

"Private medical organizations will also vaccinate the population against coronavirus infection, but on a paid basis. Citizens who are not included in the risk group will be able to use their services, and those non-state medical institutions which duties do not include routine vaccination against infectious diseases ", he was quoted by EADaily.

Uzbekistan has two vaccines: the Indian CoviShield (in the amount of 660 thousand doses) and the Uzbek-Chinese ZF-UZ-VAC 2001 (1 million doses). The first to receive free vaccinations will be those over 65, as well as doctors who are fighting Covid-19.

Taiwan

Starting April 21, in Taiwan, everyone can get vaccinated at their own expense. To do this, the authorities have distributed 10 thousand doses of the AstraZeneca between 23 hospitals, reports Focus Taiwan.

To vaccinate at your own expense in Taiwan, you need to pre-register, which became available on April 19. Anyone can sign up for a paid injection, but priority will be given to persons who need to travel abroad for work, study or treatment.

The vaccine will cost $ 18-21. Interestingly, the fee is charged not for the drug itself, but for the hospital appointment. It is expected that 31 medical facilities will soon provide this service in Taiwan. If there would be demand in the future, they can also increase the number of vaccines.

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