First COVID-19 vaccines shipped by COVAX arrive in Ukraine

16 April 2021
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UNICEF

Today, Ukraine received the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine shipped via the COVAX Facility, an unprecedented initiative of global solidarity of different countries for global access to COVID-19 vaccines.

This is the first delivery in the framework of COVAX to Ukraine.  Ukraine receives 117,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine free of charge.

Supplies of vaccines of different manufacturers within COVAX will continue and are expected to cover up to 20% of the population in Ukraine by the end of 2021.

UNICEF, on behalf of the COVAX Facility, procures and supplies COVID-19 vaccines that meet WHO’s established safety and efficacy criteria.

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“Today, an important step was made to protect those who are at high risk of becoming seriously ill and even dying from COVID-19. More vaccines will be delivered to Ukraine as part of the COVAX Facility and UNICEF continues to support the Government of Ukraine to protect people from detrimental effects of COVID-19 on lives and economy. We hope for a quick and effective vaccination, otherwise people will continue losing loved ones and the medical system will remain overwhelmed. It is very important that vaccination is organized safely: with physical distancing, not in tight spaces, so that people waiting for the procedure do not contract COVID-19,” said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

Maksym Stepanov, Minister of Health of Ukraine, highlighted:  "Ukraine has set ambitious goals to cover the majority of the adult population with COVID-19 vaccination by the end of the year. This is a huge challenge and to achieve this we are looking forward to the parallel launch of different platforms, the use of different vaccines and all possible supply routes. We are pleased to receive the first batch of vaccines under the global COVAX initiative and support from international partners.  It is important for Ukraine that under fierce competition and  struggle for access to vaccines in the world, COVAX confirms the fulfilment of the tasks for which this global partnership was created - to provide fair opportunities for all."

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117,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will primarily be used for vaccination of staff and residents of nursing homes. Then - employees of the State Emergency Service and border guards.

“Ukraine's accession to the COVAX mechanism has become possible thanks to the joint efforts of all supporters of COVAX, such as governments, international organizations and private companies. COVID vaccination is  an additional measure we have now to curb the pandemics and is a priority in Ukraine and in the world, and WHO is working on ensuring the availability and accessibility of vaccines, as well as on providing a safe and effective vaccination process in Ukraine.

Furthermore, in Ukraine, partners as of WHO, UNICEF, European Union, USAID, UK and the World Bank have prioritized COVID vaccination and allocated resources to support the efforts now. Ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine, especially to protect the most vulnerable, will allow mitigating the effects of the pandemic on the health of the population and the economy", said Dr Jarno Habicht, the WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Ukraine.

A few days earlier, UNICEF also delivered to Ukraine some 140,000 syringes for mixing up the vaccine with diluent and injections and over 1,300 safety boxes for their disposal, under COVAX.

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UNICEF, WHO and partners have been supporting the Government of Ukraine in COVID-19 response and vaccination roll-out. This includes assisting with the development of the national vaccination plan, support for cold chain infrastructure, as well as training of health workers in how to store and handle the vaccines, provide quality immunization services, effective counselling and communication about vaccines and working with communities in addressing misinformation.

It is important that the country continues to apply tried-and-tested measures to successfully prevent and control transmission, such as physical distancing, masks, ventilation and hand hygiene, alongside robust programmes to test, trace, isolate and treat. It is also important to continue to expand access to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COVID-19, including access to oxygen support.

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organisations, vaccine manufacturers, governments of US, UK, European Union, Canada, Germany, World Bank, and others.

The airplane with vaccines has landed in Kyiv Sikorsky International Airport.  “Our  airport is a reliable partner, always open for cooperation. The airport team is ready to hold additional logistics activities to facilitate safety delivery of the vaccine to Ukrainian citizens in time’, said Denis Kostrzhevsky, Head of the Board of Directors of Kyiv Sikorsky International Airport:

Notes for Editors:

Photo and video materials will be available at http://bit.ly/Ukraine_COVAX

Full COVAX News Note to Editors: https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator/covax/covax-news-note-to-editors

List of donor pledges to the Gavi COVAX AMC: https://www.gavi.org/sites/default/files/covid/covax/COVAX-AMC-Donors-Table.pdf

UNICEF COVAX page https://www.unicef.org/supply/covax-ensuring-global-equitable-access-covid-19-vaccines

 

Media contacts

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

About UNICEF

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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