Covid-19: ‘No concern’ about AstraZeneca vaccine and over-65s

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    Copyright: Reuters

    Ukraine’s parliament has approved a bill that aims to speed up the approval of Covid-19 vaccines, but also bans the approval of vaccines made in
    Russia.

    No vaccine has yet been approved in Ukraine, but officials have previously said Kyiv will not approve or use Russian vaccines.

    Ties between Russia and Ukraine are strained following the annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and Moscow
    backing separatist fighters in the east of Ukraine.

    “One political force just created some hysteria over the
    registration of the Russian vaccine,” Ukraine’s Health Minister
    Maksym Stepanov tells a televised briefing.

    “I can immediately say that no-one will register the Russian vaccine in the country,” he says, adding vaccination will begin on time in February.

    However, medical staff are sceptical since no
    official date for a first delivery has been finalised, the AFP news agency reported earlier this month.

    President Volodymyr Zelensky
    has blamed the delay on richer Western countries who reserved the Pfizer and
    Moderna jabs in bulk.

    “The richest found
    themselves first in the global vaccine queue,” he said in December.

    Ukraine has so far secured eight million doses through the UN Covax mechanism which helps poorer nations with
    distribution, and Kyiv expects to secure five million doses of the Chinese
    vaccine CoronaVac once it is registered, AFP reports.

    However, those quantities may not be enough for a country of more than 40 million people.