The Ukrainian Health Ministry has signed a contract for the supply to Ukraine in the shortest possible time of 1.8 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinovac Biotech at a price of UAH 504 (about $18) per dose, the press service of the President's Office has reported.
According to the report, the ministry has been holding talks on the supply of the vaccine since September 2020.
"Sinovac Biotech is China's largest vaccine manufacturer. Annually, it produces 300 to 500 million doses of vaccines that have been approved in 34 countries. The company has developed and marketed vaccines against hepatitis A and B, influenza viruses, including avian influenza, and mumps. In particular, Turkey has already made the decision to purchase Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine in the amount of 50 million doses," the President's Office said.
According to the report, Ukraine will use the Sinovac Biotech vaccine to protect primarily those citizens who are at critical risk of infection and those who perform critical functions in the fight against the pandemic. Vaccinations will be free.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the contract had been signed with an experienced vaccine manufacturer.
"The main thing is that we conducted a very active months-long negotiation work and got a concrete result. In a short time we will start a large-scale state vaccination program. We desperately need to protect the most risky social groups, and the state will definitely fulfill this task," the report reads.
The President's Office said that Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine (CoronaVac) is an inactivated vaccine produced in ready-to-use syringes and stored at fridge temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. Clinical trials conducted in different countries, according to interim data, showed the vaccine is up to 97% effective.
Phase III clinical trials were conducted in Indonesia (1,600 patients, 97% efficacy) and Turkey (1,325 patients, 91% efficacy). Phase III clinical trials in Brazil are coming to an end, with interim results expected on January 7, 2021.
A permit for the use of the drug in China and other countries is to be obtained in January, and the vaccine will be submitted for prequalification to the WHO in February 2021.
The contract for the supply of the CoronaVac vaccine to Ukraine has been signed with Ukrainian pharmaceutical company JSC Lekhim. According to Sinovac Biotech, the company is the only authorized representative of the vaccine manufacturer in Ukraine.
"We are talking about the purchase of 1,800,000 doses at a price of UAH 504 per dose," the President's Office said.
According to the contract, the first batch of 700,000 doses will be delivered to Ukraine within 30 days after official registration in China or by one of the competent authorities of the United States, Britain, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Canada, Israel, India, Mexico, Brazil, or under a centralized procedure by the competent EU body.
At the same time, the President's Office stressed that such supplies will be made separately from the COVAX initiative, under which Ukraine will get eight million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge.
"Ukraine is continuing an active negotiation process with all reliable manufacturers in order to increase the access of Ukrainians to an effective and safe vaccine," the report reads.
As many as 1,045,348 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Ukraine as of December 30, including 7,986 coronavirus cases recorded on December 29.