KIEV, Feb 22 (.) – Ukraine has agreed to increase the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine purchased from US manufacturer Novavax to 15 million, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Monday.
The first batches of the vaccine are scheduled to arrive in Ukraine from July, Stepanov said on Facebook. Ukraine lags behind most European countries when it comes to sourcing COVID-19 vaccines and has yet to start mass vaccinations.
“We have received confirmation (from the manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India) that it is possible to supply another 5 million doses of the vaccine … The total number of Novavax vaccines we expect in Ukraine is 15 million,” he said. Stepanov.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stated this month that Ukraine had obtained 12 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Novavax from the Serum Institute.
Stepanov, who visited India this weekend, said Sunday that the first batch of 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine was on its way to Ukraine. Those responsible for the Ministry of Health affirm that the doses will arrive “at any moment”, but they have not given an exact date.
Ukraine, which has recorded more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases and 25,156 deaths, has already agreed to buy some vaccines from China and expects to receive at least 8 million doses under the global COVAX program for the most disadvantaged countries.
Stepanov stated last week that purchases of coronavirus vaccines in Kiev were being hampered by “junk information attacks” that have led to a corruption investigation against his ministry.
The minister denied any wrongdoing after the anti-corruption agency NABU launched an investigation this month into the procurement of Chinese vaccines from Sinovac through an intermediary importer, Lekhim.
(Information from Pavel Polityuk, edited by Raissa Kasolowsky, translated by Flora Gómez in the Gdansk newsroom)