Ukraine to stick with AstraZeneca vaccine, denounces ‘information attack’

Kiev, Mar 18 (efe-epa).- Ukraine intends to continue using the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine despite several major European countries suspending its use following reports of isolated cases of blood clots.

Speaking at a joint press briefing with the Lithuanian president Gitanas Nauseda in Kiev on Thursday, president Volodymyr Zelensky said no fatalities had been registered in Ukraine after 90,000 people had received their first jabs with the Indian-manufactured Covishield vaccine, the only one Ukraine currently has available.

“There is no proof that any deaths were related to this vaccine (in the world), according to the WHO official declaration,” Zelensky said.

“I have myself taken this vaccine and here I am, standing in front of you and feeling great,” Ukrainian president received his AstraZeneca jab on March 2 live on television in a bid to boost confidence in the inoculation program in the country, where vaccine skepticism is widespread.

Zelensky also said he believed there was an “information attack” being waged on AstraZeneca vaccine, without specifying who is behind that attack.

The culture minister, Oleksandr Tkachenko, has accused Moscow of being behind the campaign to discredit the AstraZeneca vaccine to promote its own Sputnik V inoculation, according to Ukrainian media reports.

Zelensky said Ukraine is due to receive a batch of Chinese-manufactured Covid vaccines at the end of March, while expressing criticism towards the EU about the lack of “substantial support” with vaccine deliveries to the country.

Ukraine started its Covid vaccination campaign on February 24. The government has faced criticism over the slow pace of vaccination as less than 1% of the population has received the first jab, and new Covid cases are on the rise.

On March 20, a new lockdown will be imposed in the capital Kiev. EFE-EPA


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