Health Care, Clinical Trials
Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine published vaccination plan and Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal, mentioned that in Ukraine will use only those vaccines that have shown at least 70% of effectiveness. Currently, such indicators are demonstrated by 6 vaccine manufacturers, but during the year their number may increase. This raises many questions from business and society.
Therefore, on February 23, the European Business Association held an expert discussion EBA Expert Talks: “Vaccination against COVID-19 – to be or not to be?” to dispel all the myths, doubts and uncertainties surrounding this topic and answer the most painful questions of the public.
At the beginning of the meeting, Dmytro Lurye, Manager of the Health Committee of the European Business Association, congratulated everyone with the arrival of the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine to the Ukrainian market. Thus, in oder to fight the COVID-19 pandemic firstly, will be vaccinated people with critical risk of infection COVID-19 and also who perform critical functions.
Victoria Milyutina, Director of the Northern Interregional Department of the National Health Service of Ukraine (NHSU), told us more details about the launch of the vaccination procedure and their implementation in practice. In addition, Ms. Victoria announced those free services that will be provided for Ukrainians by the Medical Guarantees Program 2021 which starts from April 1. The program of medical guarantees provides a separate package of state guarantees for vaccination against COVID-19. The National Health Insurance Fund will conclude agreements with medical institutions, so it will be free of charge for the citizens of Ukraine and will be covered by the state budget of Ukraine. ”
Iryna Magdik, Executive Director, Clinical Trials Subcommittee – European Business Association, told about the main types of vaccines and their features, risks and clinical trials.“The whole world is focused on developing vaccines. Under standard conditions, approximately 10 years are required for a vaccine development, testing, and subsequent registration. No one thought , that it would be possible to develop vaccines in such short time, to explore them and start using them simultaneously in many countries. More than 200 vaccines are currently being tested worldwide. Of these, 70 vaccines are in the clinical phase of the study. No one can say now which of the proposed vaccines will work in the best way and to predict the post-vaccination immunity duration. But now vaccination is the only way to stop the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.”
Kateryna Bulavinova, Infectious Diseases Specialist, Medical Expert of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine, spoke about the situation with coronavirus statistics in Ukraine and around the world and highlighted UNICEF’s initiative to accelerate access to COVID-19 (COVAX), role of COVAX in the development and delivery of vaccines to countries. As Ms. Kateryna notes in her speech: “According to the COVAX initiative, Ukraine should receive approved vaccines (AstraZeneca and Pfizer) by the World Health Organization. On February 23, 2021, the AstraZeneca vaccine had already arrived in Ukraine and was properly licensed in accordance with Ukrainian legislation. Also, Pfizer vaccine has been registered in Ukraine, and its first delivery will be made soon.
Yevhenia Ocheretko, Senior Lawyer for Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals at JSC Arzinger, outlined the legal grounds for vaccinating companies and their employees in Ukraine. The expert noted that compulsory vaccination is not provided by Ukrainian legislation.
Ms. Yevhenia emphasized in her speech: “A vaccine is, firstly, a medicine, and medicines are subject to very strict legal regulations. Only registered medicines are used, and the state is responsible for the safety of vaccines. Currently, two vaccines have already been submitted to the State Expert Center of the Ministry of Health for registration. In addition, most deliveries will be made through government channels.”
On behalf of the European Business Association, we thank all participants and experts.