USA, Russia, UK, Switzerland, Mexico, Serbia – this is an incomplete list of countries that are already vaccinating their population. In Ukraine, vaccination is still only in the plans. Although the authorities promise that it will begin soon.
When does vaccination start?
The head of the Ministry of Health, Maksym Stepanov, said that it could begin as early as February 2021. However, he said, everything depends on how quickly the vaccine is delivered.
Already in the first quarter of 2021, it is expected that 8 million doses of the vaccine will be delivered to Ukraine. At the same time, as Stepanov noted, the vaccine will be delivered in tranches. The first tranche will amount to 2 million doses of the vaccine.
However, everything can still change, since the Ministry of Health assures that they are working to double the quota of vaccines – from 8 million to 16 million doses.
In parallel, it has already been decided that the operator for the purchase and delivery of vaccines will be the State Enterprise "Medical Procurement of Ukraine."
How will the vaccination be administered?
A vaccination plan has already been developed, as previously reported. It is expected that vaccination will be carried out in four stages:
1) January - April 2021 – people at high risk of infection and development of complications from Covid-19 and those who perform critical functions in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic;
2) April - June 2021 – people with an extremely high risk of infection and development of complications from Covid-19 and those who provide medical services;
3) June - September 2021 – people at high risk of infection and the development of complications from Covid-19 and those who perform functions of maintaining the security and life of the state;
4) September 2021 - March 2022 – people with an increased risk of infection and the development of complications from Covid-19 and those who perform functions to maintain the security and life of the state.
However, the stages of vaccination will be constantly coordinated, so this plan can be considered only preliminary for now.
"It is assumed that the operational headquarters of the Ministry of Health for responding to situations of the spread of infectious diseases that can be prevented by vaccination will coordinate the process of introducing the vaccine against Covid-19 and the vaccination campaign. This headquarters is headed by the Minister of Health," Stepanov said.
He also added that at the regional level, regional coordinators will carry out activities on immunization. They will be determined in each region and in Kiev at the request of the Ministry of Health.
Will the vaccination be voluntary?
The Ministry of Health assures that yes. The ministry will recommend that people over 60 be vaccinated first. In general, 9 priority groups for vaccination have already been identified. They are as follows:
- Health workers, including everyone who is directly involved in the response to the pandemic;
- Military personnel;
- Social workers;
- Persons living in long-term care and support institutions and employees of such institutions;
- Elderly people (60+ years), including those with concomitant diseases who are at risk;
- Employees of critical structures of state security;
- Teachers and other educators;
- Persons aged 18 to 59 years with concomitant diseases;
- People who are in places of restriction of freedom or in a pre-trial detention center, and employees of places of detention and pre-trial detention.
In Ukraine, they plan to create up to 50 coronavirus vaccination centers, following the example of some EU countries. The Ministry of Health also announced the formation of mobile immunization teams.
What vaccine will Ukraine receive?
We do not have clear information, but only assumptions. For example, Ihor Kuzin, Director General of the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health, in his commentary to Ukrainian Truth. Life suggested that Ukraine will receive the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
“When we sent the COVAX request, we took into account the storage conditions of the vaccine that we can afford, so given the production capacity, it is hoped that we will receive the vaccine from Astra Zeneca,” he said.
At the same time, Kuzin stressed that the exact answer to the question "What vaccine will Ukraine receive?" will only be in January 2021.