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This week, Ukraine will receive almost half a million more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine under COVAX

18 May 2021
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TODAY, ON MAY 18, UNICEF DELIVERED A NEW BATCH OF 122,850 DOSES OF PFIZER-BIONTECH’S COMIRNATY VACCINE AGAINST COVID-19 TO UKRAINE AS PART OF THE COVAX GLOBAL INITIATIVE. BY THE END OF THE WEEK, UNICEF WILL DELIVER A TOTAL OF 473,850 DOSES OF THE VACCINE, AS WELL AS A SOLVENT FOR INJECTION.

It is expected that 378 thousand doses of the vaccine will be used to vaccinate education workers with the first and second doses against COVID-19. The rest of the vaccines will be sent to priority groups of the first and second stages of vaccination.

The COVAX initiative is an example of the unprecedented solidarity of the international community, which aims to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries of the world. As part of COVAX, UNICEF and WHO are working to deliver more vaccines to residents of Ukraine, together with the governments of the United States, the EU, the United Kingdom, international institutions - the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank, as well as other donors. In total, by the end of 2021, as part of the initiative, Ukraine will receive free vaccines to vaccinate 8 million Ukrainians against COVID-19.

On behalf of COVAX, UNICEF purchases and supplies only those COVID-19 vaccines that meet the WHO safety and efficiency criteria.

“Ukraine's receipt of a new batch of vaccines under the COVAX international initiative is yet another evidence of the international community's commitment to the principles of equality and availability of vaccines in the context of the global coronavirus pandemic. Cooperation in this format is extremely important, and the implementation of international humanitarian and social initiatives aimed at overcoming the global problem of COVID-19 once again confirms the readiness of countries to join forces before the threats facing humanity”, said Maksym Stepanov, Minister of Health of Ukraine.

“UNICEF is grateful to all partners and international donors who support COVAX and COVID-19 vaccination in Ukraine. As more vaccines are delivered, we encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as you have the opportunity. It is very important that teachers can now get protection from this dangerous infection. The role of education for the well-being and development of every child cannot be overemphasized. Vaccination of teachers is a key point in ensuring the quality and continuity of education during the pandemic”, said Lotta Sylwander, head of the UNICEF office in Ukraine.

Dr. Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative and Chairman of the WHO office in Ukraine, said:

“Now additional COVID-19 vaccines are being delivered to Ukraine through the COVAX mechanism, which means that we can provide access to vaccines for more people, focusing on priority groups. In recent months, we have seen that more and more Ukrainians are interested in getting vaccinated against COVID, and this is an encouraging trend. COVID-19 vaccination is a vital tool to help us overcome the pandemic and finally get one step closer to each other again, but no one is safe until everyone is safe”.

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines require special transportation and storage conditions - at temperatures ranging from -60 °C to -80 °C. Storage and logistics of this and previous batches of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines from COVAX in Ukraine in compliance with the correct cold chain will be provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

This year, at the request of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, UNICEF conducted nationwide cold chain trainings for COVID-19 vaccines for specialists responsible for logistics and storage of vaccines from all regions.

Earlier, as part of COVAX, Ukraine received 117 thousand doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 367,200 doses of AstraZeneca-SKBio vaccine produced by SK Bioscience, South Korea. Also, about 140 thousand syringes for diluting vaccines with solvent and injections and more than 1300 boxes for their safe disposal.

COVAX is a global initiative to accelerate the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure their equal distribution around the world. COVAX’s work is coordinated by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), while UNICEF works with manufacturers and partners on the procurement and logistics of COVID-19 vaccines.