Ukrainian Religious Leaders Vaccinated against COVID-19 with Residual Doses of AstraZeneca vaccine (Covishield)

17 March 2021
Блаженнійший Святослав робить щеплення від COVID-19

On 16 March  2021, UNICEF and Ministry of Health of Ukraine have organized public vaccination against COVID-19 for several Ukrainian religious figures. They were vaccinated with residual doses of  AstraZeneca vaccine (Covishield) in Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kyiv.

By their own example, the Supreme Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych, the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) Svyatoslav (Shevchuk) and the Archimandrite of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery Lavrentiy (Zhyvchyk) (Orthodox Church of Ukraine) called on believers to be vaccinated.

In addition, a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine was given to Leonid Baratz, a representative of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Kyiv, Borys Strugatskyi, a representative of the Chabad Lubavych Jewish Community in Ukraine, and Andrii Yurash, Head of the Religious Affairs Department of the Cabinet of Ministers. The event was also attended by the Chief Rabbi of Kyiv, Jonathan Benyamin Markovitch.

“There is no religious reason to refuse vaccination,” said His Beatitude Svyatoslav at a post-vaccination briefing. He emphasized that he had received a residual dose of the vaccine and expressed his thanks for the opportunity to be protected from COVID-19.

The Head of the UGCC also called on Ukrainians to listen to the advice of family doctors and check sources of information about coronavirus disease.

He also named three key principles of vaccination: voluntariness, accessibility and safety.

The Archimandrite of the St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery Lavrentiy also pointed out that the church did not reject vaccination.

“The Church does not object, but accepts vaccination as a way to overcome, or at least limit, the spread of this terrible disease,” said Father Lavrentiy, adding that vaccination can also be part of God’s providence.

In turn, the Chief Rabbi of Kyiv Markovitch noted, “The Lord sent us vaccinations. The Lord sent us a cure for the disease. You definitely need to take advantage of this and be healthy.”

He also stressed that when it comes to vaccination, believers should heed advice of professionals.

All the religious leaders expressed their deep gratitude to the doctors who are at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus disease.

The event was organized with the support of UNICEF Ukraine.

On 11 March, Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov signed Order 443, under which in the first stage of vaccination, priority risk groups from the next vaccination stage can be vaccinated with residual doses of the vaccine. If it is not possible to vaccinate representatives of certain groups at the second stage, it is recommended to involve public figures, in particular leaders and representatives of religious organizations, to promote vaccination.

Each vial of AstraZeneca (Covishield) contains 10 doses of vaccine. The opened vial can only be used for 6 hours. If the entire open vial vaccine has not been used within this period, the remaining doses should be disposed of.

The AstraZeneca vaccine (Covishield) that is administered in Ukraine has been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO). It was also permitted for use in the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada and India. The vaccine was registered in Ukraine on 22 February 2021.

All vaccinations are voluntary and free.

Learn more about immunization from COVID-19 at


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Nina Sorokopud
Chief of Communication
UNICEF in Ukraine
Tel: +380675050056


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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