Photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash

The Ukrainian Health Minister says that he has a plan to better the Covid-19 situation in Ukraine but says that people will need to get vaccinated.

Ukraine is experiencing a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases at this point, which is breaking all records. The country registered 19,120 new cases yesterday, and 734 deaths, which is a record, and vaccination rates remain low, around 18 percent. The country might soon face a new straight lockdown if nothing changes. 

The Ukrainian Health Minister Victor Lyashko expressed his concern in a lengthy interview with Ukrainian Pravda. Among other things, he said that Ukrainian is running low on oxygen at some hospitals and will buy more from Poland. 

Previously, Lyashko promised to vaccinate 70 percent of the population by the end of the year, and he was asked what he would do to achieve that goal with two months left.

“Now we have reached completely different numbers of vaccinations; on October 22, we had the fifth day in a row a daily record for the number of vaccinations. We did 289,000 vaccinations a day – we used to do that much in a month,” he said before arguing that it all depends on how many people are ready to be vaccinated. 

“Even if you mathematically multiply 250,000 vaccinations by 70 days, if this trend continues, your question will be answered. This is provided that we will have so many people willing to get vaccinated every day. So, we need to create conditions for their number to be one or more,” said Lyashko. 

Skepticism against the vaccine

In March, a study done by the National Democratic Institute found that 46 percent of Ukrainians would say no to a vaccine if offered. Later in April, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology found that 52.2 percent of Ukrainians don’t want to be vaccinated. Many said that they would wait until the vaccine had been tested more. 

Lyashko said that he can see that most people are receiving the government’s messages about being vaccinated but that they choose not to. Therefore, he added, something different needs to be done. He, however, does see that more people are now getting vaccinated due to the many deaths, which are making an impact on people. 

“Those who were thinking of getting vaccinated, but saw that the disease had dropped, now stopped hesitating and went for vaccinations. Another group of people – got into the ‘red zone,’ felt the restrictions, plus the inconvenience of transport, went and got vaccinated,” he said, “And the third – we connected advertising on national TV channels. People have seen advertising.”

He acknowledged that Ukraine has a problem with trust in authorities, affecting people’s willingness to vaccinate and that there is no quick fix. He, however, did point out that the government is making it mandatory to be vaccinated in the health sector in some state enterprises and institutions. 

“Daily oxygen consumption per patient has increased 2, 3, and even 4 times. And the number of people who go to the hospital and get oxygen therapy has also increased,” said Lyashko, underlying that something needs to be done. 

Lyashko also said that everyone in Ukraine will be offered a booster shot later on and that there have been secured contrasts for vaccines for the next two years. 

America sends warning about Ukraine

The Ukrainian Covid-problems aren’t going unnoticed around the world. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, added Ukraine to the list of countries with a very high risk, reports CNN. It was moved from level 3 to level 4. 

You need to have more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents within the past 28 days to reach level 4, and only a few countries are on that list. 

According to CNN, more and more countries are moving to level 4, where Ukraine is the latest after the CDC added Singapore last week. In August, the CDC added 16 more destinations due to the new Delta variant.