Monday, November 28, 2022

Ukraine offers booster doses for people 60 and older, eases rules for mixing vaccines

by Olga RudenkoJanuary 4, 2022 3:59 pm
Share
A woman fills a syringe with Covid-19 vaccine at one of the vaccination centers in Kyiv on June 5, 2021. (kyivcity.gov.ua)

Ukraine has begun offering booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine for citizens aged 60 and over.

The booster doses will become available six months after completing vaccination.

Earlier, Ukraine was offering booster doses only to doctors and staff of senior care facilities, having only authorized them on Dec. 22. As of now, 5,713 people have received a booster dose in Ukraine.

Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said on Jan. 4 that he signed the order authorizing the booster doses for people aged 60 and older after immunization experts recommended it.

On Jan. 5, the health ministry will also consider making them available to a broader share of the population, according to Lyashko.

It's recommended that an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer/Comirnaty or Moderna) is used for a booster dose regardless of what vaccine was used for the first two doses, according to Lyashko.

In Ukraine, 13.7 million people have been vaccinated. That's 36% of the country's total population and 44% of its adult population. (The general population excluding the Russian-occupied territories in Crimea and eastern Ukraine is estimated to be 38 million people).

The most popular vaccines have been Pfizer/Comirnaty (6.1 million vaccinated) and Sinovac/Coronavac (4.5 million vaccinated).

Ukraine also changed its protocol for mixing different Covid-19 vaccines during the main course of vaccination on Jan. 4. Now, Coronavac can be mixed with AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer.

The government also authorized the use of AstraZeneca as the second dose after an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer). In this case, a minimum of 28 days must pass between the doses.

Lyashko also made a recommendation for pregnant women: if they got Coronavac for their first dose, and then got pregnant, they should get Moderna or Pfizer for their second dose.

The introduction of booster doses and change of protocols came days after the health ministry predicted that Ukraine will face a new wave of Covid-19 infections caused by the new Omicron strain starting in mid-January and peaking in mid-February.

Olga Rudenko
Olga Rudenko
Editor-in-chief

Olga Rudenko is the chief editor of the Kyiv Independent, an award-winning media start-up launched in November 2021 by the former editorial team of the Kyiv Post. Olga is the former deputy chief editor of the Kyiv Post. She has written for global publications, and was a fellow at the Chicago Booth School of Business in 2021.

Tags: Covid-19
Independent journalism
for an independent Ukraine
Independence is an expensive currency. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price to preserve its independence. Support Ukraine's trusted journalism in its darkest hour.