KYIV, Dec 30 - Ukraine has signed contract to buy 1.9 million doses of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, the presidential office said on Wednesday, with the shots expected in “the shortest possible time,” Reuters reported.
"We signed the first contract for the supply of the vaccine, not a memorandum, but a contract for more than 1.9 million doses. This is a Chinese vaccine that has been tested in Indonesia, Brazil and Turkey," President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said during a trip to Ivano-Frankivsk region.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said this month the first shots could arrive in February.
The first batch of Sinovac Biotech vaccine for Ukraine will be delivered within 30 days after the official registration in China, or one of the competent authorities of the United States, Great Britain, Swiss Confederation, Japan, Australia, Canada, Israel, India, Mexico, Brazil, or a centralized by procedure the competent authority of the European Union, according to a source in the government.
Zelenskiy also said the government hoped to receive the first batch of eight million doses of vaccines under the global COVAX facility, set up to provide vaccines to poorer countries, in March.
One dose of the Sinovac vaccine will cost 504 hryvnias (around $18), the presidential office said, adding that it would be supplied independently of COVAX.
Coronavirus infections in Ukraine began rising in September and have been consistently high ever since, triggering several national lockdowns.
The government this month said it would introduce tight restrictions in January, closing schools, cafes, restaurants, gyms and entertainment centres.
A total of 1,045,348 coronavirus cases have been registered in Ukraine with 18,324 deaths.
Sinovac is seeking to consolidate data from global trials that include Indonesia, Chile, Turkey and Brazil. Brazil has reported the vaccine’s efficacy at between 50% and 90%, having delayed the release of data three times.
This week, two Turkish doctors told Reuters that at least a couple more weeks were probably needed for the Sinovac trial results to prove decisive, since the sample size needed to grow. (rt/tl/ez)