United States welcomes first batch of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to Ukraine – embassy
The United States welcomes the arrival of 117,000 doses of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in Ukraine provided free of charge under the COVAX program, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said.
"We are actively supporting the Ministry of Health in planning and preparations for the first phase of COVID vaccination efforts, including for the expected arrival of the first doses of Pfizer vaccines in the coming weeks from the Covax Facility," the U.S. Embassy said in a press release on Friday.
The U.S. Embassy said the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has facilitated the receipt of the first batch of vaccines as part of the agreed U.S. government measures that support the safe immunization of Ukrainians against coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
USAID Mission Director in Ukraine James Hope said the United States is proud to join this milestone in the fight against COVID-19 together with the Ukrainian government. Today's arrival of vaccines under the COVAX program and the Ukrainian side's vaccination efforts bring us closer to the post-COVID future.
The diplomatic agency said the COVAX mechanism is a global initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to vaccines against COVID-19, which is carried out under the overall leadership of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the main supply chain partner, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
"COVAX is a fundamentally new format of international cooperation based on the principles of equality, transparency and general humanism. As a result, up to 20% of the population of Ukraine, that is, more than 8 million people, should receive free vaccines under this program," the U.S. Embassy said.
The United States is the largest donor to the COVAX program, which has already provided $2 billion for this program and guaranteed its support for another $2 billion through the GAVI alliance to ensure that people around the world can receive safe and quality vaccines.
Over the past year, the cost of assistance provided to Ukraine by the U.S. government specifically for the needs of the fight against COVID-19 amounted to almost $50 million.
"USAID supports the actions of the Ukrainian authorities, primarily the Ministry of Health, aimed at increasing the volume of immunization of the population with quality COVID-19 vaccines based on national planning and preparedness, strengthening supply chains and logistics mechanisms. Organization of supply and distribution of the first doses of vaccine under the COVAX program should become a model that Ukraine will subsequently be able to use on a wider scale in the implementation of future vaccine supplies," the embassy said.