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Health minister falsely claims Ukraine reached WHO's target of vaccinating 40% of population

December 14, 2021 12:01 amby Victoria Petryk
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A man receives a Covid-19 vaccine shot in Ternopil, Ukraine, on Nov. 16, 2021. (Ternopil Oblast State Administration/Facebook)

Health Minister Viktor Lyashko announced on Dec. 13 that Ukraine has reached the World Health Organization's recommended target of fully vaccinating 40% of its adult population against Covid-19 by the end of 2021.

However, according to the WHO's Strategy to Achieve Global Covid-19 Vaccination by mid-2022, the goal for every country was to fully vaccinate 40% of the overall population, not adults, by the end of this year.

According to the health ministry, a total of 32.6% of Ukrainians have now received both doses required for complete vaccination. This includes over 12.4 million adult Ukrainians.

The ministry calculates vaccination rates out of a total population of 38 million, excluding Russian-occupied Crimea and parts of the Donbas.

Lyashko said that people with weak immune systems will be allowed to get another vaccine dose, which will not be considered a "booster shot."

Ukraine remains the third-least vaccinated country in Europe, according to the statistics website Our World in Data.

The World Bank announced on Dec. 10 that it will give Ukraine $150 million to help “prevent, detect and respond to the threats posed by Covid-19 and strengthen Ukraine’s national health system.”

Around $120 million will go towards helping Ukraine buy 16.5 million vaccine doses, enough to fully innoculate around 20% of the population.

The remaining $30 million will help the Ukrainian vaccination effort by developing IT systems, communication, public outreach and logistical networks. 

Victoria Petryk
Author: Victoria Petryk

Victoria Petryk is a staff writer at the Kyiv Independent. She studied philology at Kyiv National Linguistic University. She worked at the Embassy of Israel in Kyiv as an information officer before joining the Kyiv Post as a staff writer in October 2021.