UNICEF delivers over 254,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Ukraine

28 March 2024
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UNICEF

KYIV, 28 March 2024 – The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has delivered to Ukraine 254,000 doses of the Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer for children aged five and over, as well as for adults. This critical delivery was organized with the support of ​​Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

In particular, the shipment includes 52,800 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years (Orange Cap – Comirnaty Omicron XBB.1.5) and over 201,600 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for adults and teenagers over 12 (Dark Grey Cap – Comirnaty Omicron XBB.1.5).

“Vaccination can protect against severe COVID-19 outcomes and complications,” says Veera Mendonca, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Ukraine. “This delivery includes vaccines intended for the youngest children aged 5 to 11, as well as for adults and teenagers aged 12 and above. The vaccine is already available in Ukraine, so we encourage you to check whether you, your children and elderly relatives received the necessary doses, and to take the opportunity to protect their health.”

Since the beginning of the influenza season in October 2023, over 3.7 million Ukrainians have fallen ill with SARS, flu and COVID-19, with 839 deaths registered due to COVID-19 complications.

According to the Ministry of Health, from 11 March to 17 March, 150,422 people fell ill with colds, flu and COVID-19, including 88,829 children. A total of 4,198 Ukrainians needed treatment for SARS in medical facilities, while 597 people, including 94 children, were hospitalised in the country's hospitals due to COVID-19 complications. A total of 24 deaths were registered among the patients who tested positive for COVID-19. All of the deceased had not had preventive vaccinations against COVID-19 within the last 12 months.

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UNICEF

"The global COVID-19 trend indicates that the virus is finally moving into the category of seasonal diseases, like flu,” says Ihor Kuzin, Deputy Minister, Chief State Sanitary Doctor. “Every year, people are going to face the coronavirus, which will keep mutating. More than 250,000 doses of the Omicron-specific vaccine, delivered by UNICEF, are specially adapted to protect against the Omicron strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus circulating in the country. Previously, this vaccine was used for booster vaccinations. After the recommendations were updated (order No. 346 of the Ministry of Health as of 29 February 2024), it could also be used for the primary vaccination course. That is, Ukrainians who have not received vaccinations against COVID-19, not completed the primary vaccination or been recommended by a doctor to receive a booster vaccination will be eligible to receive an Omicron-specific vaccine. It will be available in all regions.”

COVID-19 poses a particular threat to people over 60, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses, such as bronchial asthma, diabetes, hypertension and oncological diseases. If you have elderly family members or friends at risk, please make sure they get vaccinated against COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free for all Ukrainians.

Background

UNICEF has been working with the World Bank, Gavi and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to update and enhance the cold-chain infrastructure in Ukraine. Almost 6,600 vaccine refrigerators and freezers have already been procured and delivered, supporting effective vaccine storage at nearly 80 per cent of vaccination points. UNICEF, with its own funds and USAID funds, has also procured 36 refrigerator vans for vaccine transportation from national and regional levels to vaccination points.

In 2023 and early 2024, UNICEF delivered nearly 3 million doses of vaccines (polio, diphtheria-tetanus, measles-mumps-rubella, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), COVID-19, hepatitis A) procured with support from USAID, the governments of Japan, the Netherlands and France, and the international COVAX initiative. In addition, UNICEF provided nearly 6.2 million syringes for vaccination.

Media contacts

Damian Rance
Chief Advocacy and Communications
UNICEF Ukraine

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org  

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