Poland will buy Ukraine

pandemic Corona vaccinations in Ukraine: 2,500 euros on the black market

The Ukrainian vaccination strategy plans to vaccinate half of the population against Corona by the end of 2022. A vaccine for normal consumers thus seems to be a long way off. For wealthy Ukrainians, on the other hand, there should be a vaccination option since the beginning of the year. This black market for vaccines is supposed to flourish in the Kiev private clinic Mediland, which is to offer its VIP customers the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccination at a price of 2,500 euros for both vaccine doses. At least that is what the Ukrainian politician and businessman Mychajlo Brodskyj recently claimed in an article on his own tabloid Obozrevatel.com. He even emphasized that even Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal had already had himself vaccinated.

Connections to Israel

What at first sounded like a wild rumor has now been at least partially proven. According to research by the Russia-friendly but always well-informed news site Strana.ua, the Israeli Roman Goldman, head of a medical center in Tel Aviv, is behind the illegal vaccinations. Goldman is said to be friends with the chairman of the health committee of the Ukrainian parliament and to have previously organized the treatment of well-known Ukrainians such as Vitali Klitschko in Israel. In addition, some business people, who do not want to be named, admitted that they had received vaccination offers. Finally, the Ukrainian domestic secret service SBU also confirmed the import of drugs from Israel - although these are said to have been "toxic and powerful substances" that are said to have been declared as a corona vaccine. With this, the SBU indirectly admits that there was a smuggling, but imputes the doctors that they injected their VIP customers with poison. But from the private clinic it is said behind closed doors and very unofficially that so far there have been no complaints after the injections.

How did the vaccine get to Ukraine?

In any case, Mychajlo Brodskyj claims that the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine was transported from Israel to Ukraine on a charter flight at the end of December. "Most likely, he was then transported through the hall of the official delegations at Kiev's Boryspil airport without customs clearance," he writes. However, the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine must be transported and stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius so that it remains stable. "Vaccines must be frozen. It is impossible that someone transports them unnoticed," said the Israeli Ministry of Health, which does not intend to investigate the situation further.

Still, it seems highly unlikely that wealthy Ukrainians would get vaccinated with unknown drugs. Those who are willing to pay 2500 euros for the vaccination - the official price of a dose of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine is given as 16.50 euros - will probably also want a guarantee that they will not be injected with poison. And if not BioNTech / Pfizer, then it will be a different vaccine.

Kiev faces a vaccination debacle

In any case, the response to this vaccination affair was so great in Ukraine that the President, Volodymyr Selenskyj, had to intervene personally. "If someone really secretly imported the vaccine and then sold it, the reaction has to be as harsh as possible," he said. In response, there was a wave of criticism against the head of state on social networks. People were not surprised that there could be a black market for vaccines. After all, smuggling and corruption are still part of everyday life in the country. It was more about the fact that the government in Kiev does not seem to be able to officially provide the Ukrainian population with a vaccine. The national vaccination strategy threatens to develop into a catastrophe.

According to the survey by the independent Rating Group, 55 percent of Ukrainians would be willing to be vaccinated against Covid19 free of charge. 35 percent would also pay for it. But when Ukraine will get a vaccine is still in the stars. The only deal Kiev has at the moment is with Sinovac Biotech, a Chinese vaccine manufacturer. After that, Ukraine will receive 1.9 million cans. A private company has also secured another five million cans. But the last tests of the Sinovac vaccine showed an effectiveness of just over 50 percent. Health Minister Maxym Stepanov has now announced that he will not buy the vaccine if it is less than 70 percent effective.

Russian vaccine is a political matter

In addition, Ukraine can count on a further eight million doses as part of the COVAX initiative for fair access to an affordable vaccine worldwide. However, Kiev has nothing to show for it beyond that. So it is still completely unclear when the country can start vaccinating. Around 40 million doses would be needed to actually vaccinate half of the population by the end of 2022. High hopes were therefore also placed in the company's own vaccine, which President Zelenskyi described as "unique" in the autumn. However, it is entirely unknown whether there has been any progress in its development. What is certain, however, is that one of the main developers of this vaccine was already vaccinated in the USA with the Moderna vaccine there.

In this situation, Russia is all the more promoting the export of its Sputnik V vaccine to Ukraine. A Kharkiv company wants to register the Russian vaccine and has already submitted the required documents. But for Kiev, due to the longstanding conflict with Moscow, approval is also a political matter, so it is unlikely. "As a member of the government, I am against the use of the Russian vaccine, even if it proves to be effective," said the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba recently. "By delivering the vaccine, Russia is not concerned about the health of Ukrainians, but rather about spreading its propaganda clich├ęs." Still, given that Ukraine has little choice, the debate is likely to continue.