Ukrainian celebrities scramble to get Covid-19 vaccine: What's wrong with the queue

Author : News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

The vaccination campaign in Ukraine started in February, since then, 23,480 people have received the first dose, and some of them were out of turn. These are well-known politicians, singers, presenters, public figures, and journalists who must show people by their own example the safety of the drug and at the same time save it from disposal due to the specific dosage in the bottle
21:12, 11 March 2021

singer Ruslana gets vaccine
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We would like to tell you how younger and healthier opinion leaders manage to bypass the queue, what is the specificity of vaccination of celebrities in the regions and is there anything similar in the other countries.

Why do politicians and celebrities get vaccinated out of turn?

At the beginning of vaccination, doctors in the regions began to complain that there were open doses of the vaccine that had to be thrown away. One bottle of Covishield/AstraZeneca contains ten doses. Once opened, they must be used within six hours or simply disposed of.

Volodymyr Zelensky was vaccinated against coronavirus
Twitter of Volodymyr Zelensky

"The ampoule is opened and pierced with a needle. From that moment, the storage of the bottle should be no more than six hours. On the first day, 54 people were vaccinated, six doses were disposed of," Olga Kobevko, an infectious disease doctor from the Chernivtsi Regional Hospital, said.

Related: Pfizer vaccine to be delivered to Ukraine in the coming weeks, - Head of President's Office of Ukraine

The Ministry of Health has urgently changed the conditions for vaccination. Despite the usual vaccination queue, public figures were allowed to inject residual doses. Thus, the Ministry of Health decided to "kill two birds with one stone": to stop throwing away the remaining doses and at the same time to popularize vaccination following the example of opinion leaders, politicians, and celebrities.

Changes in the vaccination procedure are regulated by Order No. 369. According to the document, "in order to reduce the risks of underutilization of the vaccine from already opened vials" it is recommended to vaccinate:

  • public figures;
  • cultural and sports workers;
  • leaders of religious communities.

Country's chief sanitary doctor Viktor Lyashko explained that it is possible to vaccinate opinion leaders if the doses remain after a person's refusal from the priority list, when the number of people who appear is not a multiple of ten, and when contraindications to vaccination were identified in the main patient.

Related: EU vaccine certificate could open door to Russian, Chinese shots

Singers, presenters, mayors: Who got the vaccine out of turn

March 4, TV presenter Oleksandr Pedan (38 years old) was vaccinated in the air of the "Right to Power" talk show on 1 + 1 TV channel. In the same studio, singer Ruslana Lyzhychko (47 years old), journalist Natalia Moseichuk (47 years old), and world champion in strongman Serhiy Konyushok (37 years old) were vaccinated. In total, ten people were publicly vaccinated.

"Immunity from viruses does not always depend on physical fitness. For the most part, even for strength athletes and professional athletes, I can say as a sports physiologist, on the contrary, peak form is a decrease in immunity. Therefore, vaccination for athletes and fitness enthusiasts is very important," Serhiy Konyushok explained.

Serhiy Konyushok gets vaccine
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In addition to Ruslana, Pedan, Moseichuk, and Konyushok, six doctors received vaccines:

Serhiy Dubrov, President of the Association of Anesthesiologists of Ukraine;

Olena Mikhno, doctor;

Vitaliy Sokolov, doctor;

Kateryna Gelya, physician;

Bogdan Melnyk, doctor;

Kateryna Bulavinova, infectious disease doctor, UNICEF expert.

Related: EU to include Sputnik V in vaccines’ register that enable receiving of Covid-19 passport

MP from "Eurosolidarity" Oleksiy Honcharenko (40 years old) was vaccinated against coronavirus in Odesa on March 9. Following the example of Volodymyr Zelensky, for some reason, he also did it without a T-shirt.

Oleksiy Honcharenko gets vaccine

Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of the supervisory board of Ukrzaliznytsia, was vaccinated against coronavirus on the same day. The comments clarify that he waited five days for a free dose.

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Mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk Ruslan Martsinkiv (41 years old) was vaccinated against coronavirus with a residual dose of the Indian vaccine Covishield on March 4.

Ruslan Martsinkiv gets vaccine
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"Now we need to show the state position and show by our own example: in order to overcome this misfortune, we must comply with all the necessary quarantine measures so that we quickly return to normal life," Martsinkiv wrote on Facebook.

In the Chernivtsi region. On March 7, vaccinations were made: writer Oleksandr Boychenko, journalist Tetiana Smoldyrieva, psychologist Oksana Penderetska, volunteer Walter Scheffer, radio host Vitaliy Kovalsky.

As you can see from the regional state administration websites in the regions, most of them are vaccinated by high-ranking officials, such as mayors, deputies, etc.

In Zaporizhia, in the 7th city hospital, deputy head of the Regional State Administration Zlata Nekrasova, the head of the department for the protection of monuments of the Khortytsia National Reserve, Dmytro Kobalia, were vaccinated.

In the Zakarpattia region, governor Anatoliy Poloskov, by his own example, tried to popularize vaccination together with the leader of the Rock-H group Viktor Yantso, singer Marina Polonchak, and showman Zoltan Vaida.

Zakarpattia region governor Anatoliy Poloskov gets vaccine
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How to sign up for a vaccination out of turn: procedure details

There are certain "pitfalls" here because from the very order of the Ministry of Health it is not clear who exactly should be attributed to public figures, opinion leaders, or stars.

It is also not clear who exactly should be looking for those who wish among public figures. In theory, this is the Regional Vaccine Coordinator, but as the vaccinated stories show, people are often found by hospital staff.

Related: 4,362 Ukrainians vaccinated from Covid-19 over 24 hours

The queuing mechanism is also imperfect, as it is different in each region. In Odessa, they have organized their own system of recording for public figures: this is a Google form where all interested opinion leaders can enter their contact information.

"If you really want to get vaccinated as soon as possible, but there are doubts about the level of your own publicity and public leadership, please contact us anyway! We will be happy to help and we will not require thousands of subscribers to the FB," Odesa Regional Center for Public Health says on Facebook.

There is also such a questionnaire form in the Ternopil region.

In Kyiv, there is no such system and recruitment takes place depending on the situation. For example, lawyer and volunteer Hennady Druzenko on Facebook shared his experience of vaccination – journalists invited him to be vaccinated.

Biophysicist and scientific blogger Semen Yesilevsky describes the search process in his blog as follows:

“When we arrived at the hospital, the staff was rushing headlong in search of someone who could close the last ten-dose bottle, to which we, in fact, were invited. As a result, the journalist and the operator of the TV channel (!) Were vaccinated. they had to film us and interview us. I don't know how much it complies with the rules, but in the end, not a single dose was lost.”

He added that it is not always possible to vaccinate doctors, because they can perform operations at that moment or simply receive patients.

Coordinator for vaccination in Kyiv, head of the primary health care department of the health department of the Kyiv City State Administration Vasyl Zhyvotenyuk explained how this process is going on, RBC-Ukraine reports.

"Let's say I'm going to hospital No. 3, next to it is maternity hospital No. 6, CPMSD No. 2 of Dniprovskyi district. I immediately call them and ask if they have anyone who wants to be vaccinated. I say: be on the alert, I may need several people, and when the vaccination comes to an end and I see that I cannot get a frequency of up to ten, I call one of them and ask them to send, for example, two people," Zhovotenyuk explained.

If there are no volunteers on the spot, he can offer the rest of the dose to someone from public figures, politicians, and journalists. There is no special queue for them. They have to be looked for on an emergency basis or have prepared contacts for those of them who are not averse to getting vaccinated.

You can enroll in the queue "inactive" using the waiting list. You can read how to sign up here.

Related: Vaccination against coronavirus in the world: Map

Is there something similar abroad?

In UK, politicians showed an example - one of the first doses of the drug was received by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on December 2, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on January 9 (due to their age category).

Examples were also known among the stars, but these were mainly senior celebrities who were in line for age and health status and then simply shared photos on social networks or were vaccinated publicly on camera. So, 81-year-old Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, was vaccinated on December 17, and the famous host of films about nature, 92-year-old David Attenborough (Planet Earth) - on January 12. Also vaccinated were 82-year-old actor Patrick Mover, 81-year-old singer Marty Wilde, 80-year-old actor Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc from the movie "Star Trek").

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In the United States, politicians were the first to receive vaccinations at the end of December. Former Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated on December 18th. Also among the first were Joe Biden, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, and Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

There were also examples of vaccinations among Hollywood stars, but later, and these are just "star grandparents." On January 21, 73-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger was vaccinated.

Actor Samuel Jackson, 72, was vaccinated on January 23; Anthony Hopkins, 83, on January 28; American television star Jonathan Van Ness, 33, was vaccinated at the same time as his elders on February 22, because he has HIV. Fashion designer Marc Jacobs, 57, received the vaccine on March 2.

In Brazil, on March 2, 80-year-old football player Pele was vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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The 85-year-old spiritual leader of Tibetans, the Dalai Lama, was vaccinated against coronavirus in India with the Covishield vaccine, which is also used in Ukraine, on March 6.

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