KYIV — Ukraine’s government has banned the registration of vaccines for COVID-19, from “aggressor states,” a designation it has applied to Russia since 2015.
The government made the decision on February 8, but did not announce it publicly until February 10, when it appeared on the government’s website.
“The registration of vaccines or other medical immunobiological medicines specific to the prevention of the acute respiratory disease COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus…[that were] developed and/or produced in a nation recognized by the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine as an aggressor-state, is banned,” the government’s ruling says.
Talking about the possible use of Russian vaccines, Zelenskiy said last week that “Ukrainians are not guinea pigs” and that the government didn’t “have the right to conduct experiments on our people.”
Relations between Moscow and Kyiv have been tense since Russia forcibly seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and threw its support behind pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s east, where the ongoing conflict has claimed more than 13,200 lives.
The ban comes despite criticism of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for the government’s sputtering vaccination plan.
Zelenskiy said earlier this week that Ukraine would begin the first phase of the vaccination campaign later this month even though it has yet to receive a single dose of any vaccine.
On February 10, the Health Ministry said that China’s Sinovac Biotech had officially applied to get its COVID-19 vaccine registered in Ukraine. Kyiv has already agreed to buy 1.9 million doses from the Chinese company.
Zelenskiy said last week that his government had agreed to get 20 million vaccine doses from India’s Serum Institute and the global COVAX scheme, adding that, by early 2022, at least half of the country’s 41 million population will be vaccinated.
Ukraine has also agreed to get COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Novavах.
As of February 11, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Ukraine was 1,258,094, including 24,058 deaths.