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Coronavirus

Ukraine Gets 117,000 Pfizer Doses via COVAX

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine received its first 117,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX global vaccine sharing program on Friday.

Under a contract between Kyiv and Pfizer, the country expects a shipment of 10 more million doses in May-June. Ukraine reported 17,479 new coronavirus cases on Friday.

Ukraine’s chief health doctor, Victor Liashko, says immunization with the Pfizer shot will begin on Sunday in the Kyiv region and offered across the country on Monday. Residents and staff of Ukraine’s retirement homes will be the first in line to get the shot, then it will be offered to emergency officials and border guards.

Ukraine started vaccinations in February after receiving 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot from India. The immunization campaign has been hampered by widespread reluctance to take the vaccine, with only 432,817 people getting at least one shot so far. Kyiv has ordered 1.9 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chinese drug maker Sinovac Biotech.

Struggling to contain the soaring infections, the Ukrainian authorities introduced lockdown restrictions in many of the country’s regions. Ukraine’s Health Minister Maksym Stepanov says the measures helped stabilize the situation.

The former Soviet nation of 41 million has registered 1.9 million cases and more than 39,000 confirmed deaths.

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