President Volodymyr Zelensky took his first COVID-19 shot on March 2.
“Got vaccinated on the front line with our soldiers as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “Vaccine will let us live without restrictions again.”
A day earlier, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov became the first top government official in Ukraine to receive the vaccine.
The public vaccination of government officials is a global trend to persuade people to take the shot. According to a January poll by Rating Group, 52% of Ukrainians don’t trust any kind of COVID-19 vaccine and wouldn’t take it voluntarily.
Vaccination in Ukraine began on Feb. 27. By March 2, a total of 4,905 had received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by India’s Serum Institute.
According to Ukraine’s vaccination plan published by the Ministry of Health, medical workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic and front line troops are to be vaccinated first. Zelensky and Stepanov are also at the front of the list.
As of March 2, Ukraine has received 500,000 doses of vaccine produced by India’s Serum Institute.
Ukraine has ordered a total of 17 million doses from India, including vaccines developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca and U.S. biotech firm Novavax. Altogether, Ukraine expects to receive around 22 million doses in 2021.
On March 1, the Health Ministry started accepting online and telephone applications from Ukrainians who want to be put on the waiting list for the vaccine.
The vaccination plan will have five stages:
Stage 1 – medical workers treating COVID-19, soldiers on the front line, residents and employees of retirement homes.
Stage 2 – all people above the age of 80, all medical and social workers.
Stage 3 – all people above the age of 65, all education and security service workers.
Stage 4 – all people above the age of 60, people with chronic illnesses, residents of occupied areas, people serving time in prisons.
Stage 5 – everyone else.
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