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Low rates of vaccination and "threatening situation": how is the quarantine going on in Ukraine and what to expect next

The Ministry of Health has updated the list of "zones" for the coronavirus spread. In the "red" one there are now the city of Kyiv and Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Odesa, Sumy, and Chernivtsi regions. In addition to lockdowns in these zones, the second stage of vaccination has begun in Ukraine.

The Page has collected information on how quarantine and vaccinations are going on in Ukraine, and what to expect next.

The second stage of vaccination against coronavirus: what is known

According to the Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov, on March 22, 2021, the second stage of vaccination will start in Ukraine. Vaccination of people with a high risk of infection—family doctors—will begin. After the new batches of vaccines arrive, approximately from March 29-30, vaccination of social workers, public health workers and people over 80 years old will begin.

In addition to mobile teams, another 565 vaccination points will be added to the organization of vaccination. As part of the second stage of vaccination, it is planned to launch more than 2,500 vaccination points that will be deployed as the vaccine arrives.

According to UNICEF, the international global COVAX initiative is to transfer over 1.7 million doses of vaccines to Ukraine.

The first vaccination against coronavirus with the medication CoviShield was given in Ukraine on February 24. In Kyiv, the vaccination process with the analogue of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine—CoviShield began on February 25. This coronavirus vaccine is manufactured by the Serum Institute in India under license from AstraZeneca. In addition, the Serum Institute will additionally supply Ukraine with 5 million doses of Novavax coronavirus vaccine. In general, Ukraine expects the Novavax vaccine in the amount of 15 million doses. The first supplies are scheduled for July 2021.

Later, a website registering for vaccinations against coronavirus began operating in Ukraine. It is possible to sign up for the queue in the application Diia. 309,826 people have already signed up to the waiting list.

As of March 22, 2021, 111,025 people were vaccinated. Of these, 111,024 people received the first dose of the vaccine, and one received the second dose.

Slowly but surely

According to the press service of the Ministry of Health, over the past day, 2,715 Ukrainians were vaccinated against coronavirus in Ukraine, while in the city of Kyiv, as well as in Lviv, Khmelnytsky, and Kirovograd regions, not a single person was vaccinated.

«The Ministry of Health continues to work towards obtaining additional batches of vaccines both in accordance with the concluded contracts that the Ministry of Health has, and in accordance with the global COVAX initiative that Ukraine has joined. There are some difficulties in obtaining these vaccines. They arise not only in Ukraine, this is happening all over the world. This is because the capacity of pharmaceutical manufacturers directly producing vaccines is [not enough].»

Maksym Stepanov

Maksym Stepanov

Minister of Healthcare

Earlier, the Chief Sanitary Doctor Viktor Lyashko explained in an interview with NV that the slow pace of vaccination in Ukraine is due to the fact that the first wave of vaccination fell on medical personnel in COVID hospitals. And it is more difficult to organize vaccinations there.

"Why does everything seem to be going slowly? Because, from an organizational point of view, it is still more difficult to vaccinate people in Covid hospitals... Now [we are starting to vaccinate people] in all healthcare facilities, there will be more of those [vaccinated], the capacity of mobile teams will increase exponentially, and vaccination will begin to gain momentum," he said.

Quarantine in Ukraine: what's next

Earlier, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov reported that the third wave of coronavirus had begun in Ukraine. Shmyhal has already announced a strict lockdown if most regions get into the "red" zone of epidemic danger. At the same time, the lockdown has already been announced in cities and regions that have got into the "red" zone of the coronavirus spread. The work of shopping and entertainment centers, holding mass events and sports competitions with spectators, religious events, if there is more than one person for 10 sq. m of premise area, are prohibited there. Schools in the "red" zone will work remotely after the holidays.

At the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the spring wave of coronavirus is considered to be more dangerous than the autumn wave due to its rapid development. It could even be a national disaster.

"I think the situation is threatening. We must have a clear state position on this matter. The introduction of stricter quarantine norms, even a lockdown, should be at the beginning of an increase in the number of people infected, at the beginning of an increase in the infection spread. The peak will be, I think, not earlier than in a month, and maybe even later. But this maximum can be very high or moderate," the academician of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Head of the Commission on Biosafety and Biological Protection under the NSDC Serhiy Komissarenko reported to Obozrevatel.

Volodymyr Halytskyi, Candidate of Biological Sciences, predicted that at the peak, the daily number of new cases could reach 40,000, and the daily number of deaths could exceed a 1000.

"We have found that the spring wave of the epidemic is due to the seasonal restoration of the main viral receptor expression—angiotensin-converting enzyme ACE-2—with the beginning of an increase in daylight hours. Moreover, a large amount of this receptor is expressed precisely by the epithelium of the lungs. Accordingly, there is a sharp (hundreds of times) increase in susceptibility, and lung tissue becomes the main target of a viral attack," he said.

Such a scenario could be hampered by intensive vaccination, but now its rates in Ukraine are too low. Globally, time is already lost, but preventing the worst is still possible.

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