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COVID-19: Ukraine set to launch coronavirus vaccination programme

An empty box of AstraZeneca Vaccine
An empty box of AstraZeneca Vaccine Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews
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The EU called on member states to help Ukraine as it plans its vaccinations programme.

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European Union member states are being asked to donate some of their COVID-19 vaccines to Ukraine, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said.

It comes as Ukraine launches its vaccination campaign with eight million vaccine doses from the COVAX programme, up to five million doses of the Chinese CoronaVac inoculation and 12 million of the AstraZeneca and Novavax jabs.

But with a country of around 40 million, it's not enough and the Ukrainian President has called on the EU for help.

"We have agreed to supply Ukraine with Pfizer, Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines. The first stage of vaccination will begin this month," announced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. "Our doctors, military and National Guard will receive the vaccine."

Vaccinations continue amid a tough COVID wave in Europe

The Netherlands has extended its curfew until March as the Dutch national health agency says two-thirds of new infections are from the British variant.

It follows the country starting its vaccination rollout last month using Pfizer/BioNTech doses with those deemed most vulnerable.

In France, health minister Olivier Véran urged healthcare workers to be inoculated, after he himself received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

That's despite South Africa saying they wouldn't use the vaccine over concerns it's not effective on the new variant there. But Véran says that particular variant hasn't been widely detected in France.

In Italy, the first group of over 80s who aren't in nursing homes are receiving their vaccinations and children are being tested with the help of clowns. This second phase is set to end by the end of April.

Meanwhile Portugal has the world's fourth highest rate of new COVID-19 cases but the number of deaths on Monday was its lowest in three weeks.

Additional sources • AFP

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