Pro-Kremlin disinformation that exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring narrative about statehood of Ukraine, and a Russophobic narrative toward the possible Sputnik V vaccine.
In general, the Sputnik V vaccine has been met with international scepticism and even the World Health Organisation expressed some reservations, especially as it hasn’t completed large trials to test the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. Rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could endanger people who receive it.
Ukraine does not want to purchase the Sputnik V vaccine not because the US prohibited it from doing so, but because it has not undergone the third phase of trials and its safety and efficacy is questionable. The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was clear when he said:
"If someone has a vaccine for COVID-19, Ukraine will buy it," and he even pointed out the same argument regarding any vaccine from the EU by stating, "The EU has confirmed that it will help Ukraine get a real vaccine when it appears and when it does not cast doubts from the scientists."
According to Ukrainian Healthcare Minister Maksym Stepanov, the Ukrainian government is not planning to acquire the Russian vaccine, "given that the latter has not yet gone through the third stage of clinical trials." Stepanov also noted that Ukraine hopes to receive 8 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in the first half of 2021: Ukraine participates in the global COVAX Facility, which has been set up to provide COVID-19 vaccines. The COVAX mechanism is part of the Accelerated Access Initiative, which was also launched by WHO. COVAX is led by three organisations: the World Health Organisation, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
Ukrainian Minister for Health Stepanov announced that Ukraine wants to receive enough vaccine for up to 20% of its population, which would be the equivalent of 8 million doses. Ukraine expects that in the first half of 2021 Ukraine will start receiving the vaccine. The first tranche could total 1.2 million doses and it would be used primarily for groups most at risk. The priority in the vaccination will be provided to medical workers, military men, teachers, people from the risk groups, particularly, people over 60 years.
Ukraine had also held talks with all possible vaccine manufacturers and suppliers and already issued budget funds for the purchases.