On the evening of Jan. 24, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in a video address that Ukrainians who receive the third vaccine shot (booster) will receive a state payment of Hr. 500. Before that, fully vaccinated people over the age of 18 could receive Hr. 1,000 for the first and second doses, thus increasing the total reward by half as much again.
What is “Covid’s Thousand”?
Covid’s Thousand, or Thousand from Zelensky, is money that the state provides to fully vaccinated Ukrainians over the age of 18 through the “Diia” application. Users can receive the payment on their bank card to spend on gym, cinema, theater, museum and concert spending, as well as on train and air tickets within the country.
The program was launched for two reasons: to encourage Ukrainians to be vaccinated, and to support businesses that have suffered during the on-going pandemic.
Today, almost 9 million Ukrainians have already opened a special account to receive the benefits, and 7.5 million have even applied for assistance. A total of Hr. 8 billion was allocated from the state treasury for this purpose. To date, Ukrainians have spent more than Hr. 1.6 billion of their reward balance – mostly on books, followed by cinema and rail tickets.
From Jan. 24, vaccinated Ukrainians over the age of 60 will be able to use their Hr. 1,000 from the state to buy medicine.
Under the new arrangement, individuals can use their reward to buy medicine in a physical or online pharmacy. In addition, people will not be required to show proof of age as the bank will automatically approve the transaction. If a person under the age of 60 attempts to make a purchase in the same way, their bank will block the transaction.
The government introduced a new service to support pensioners in Ukraine. However, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, which developed the application “Diia,” says it is difficult to control what Ukrainians buy in pharmacies.
In the future, the government could expand assistance and open up the scheme to children aged 12 and over. How and when this might be enacted are not yet known.
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