February 28, 2021

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European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen at the European Parliament in Brussels on January 20, 2021.
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen at the European Parliament in Brussels on January 20, 2021. Francisco Seco/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

The President of the European Commission called on EU member states to donate some of their coronavirus vaccine supply to Ukraine. 

“On top of Covax, I have also asked our member states to donate part of their doses to Ukraine,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a video address at a conference held in Kiev on Monday. 

Covax is an initiative to provide equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines and is led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization. 

“Thanks to Covax, Ukraine’s doctors and nurses will receive the first vaccines already this month. Millions of other doses will reach Ukraine by the summer,” von der Leyen said. “We will stop the pandemic only if we contain the virus in all our countries. We Europeans are all together in this,” she added. 

The EU has faced criticism for its handling of the vaccine rollout across the continent. Von der Leyen did not elaborate on what the donations to Ukraine – a non-EU country – would mean for the bloc. 

More about Ukraine: Ukraine has a population of approximately 40 million people. It is awaiting delivery of eight million vaccine doses promised under the United Nations Covax program, and up to five million doses of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine. The country will begin the first phase of its Covid-19 inoculation program this month, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced during the conference. 

The 43-year-old leader, who experienced mild symptoms of the coronavirus last year, said he was ready to get inoculated to encourage others to do the same. 

“As with the majority of world leaders, I am ready to show people by personal example that vaccination is important, it is safe, it is needed,” Zelensky said. 

Ukraine has recorded over 1.2 million cases and more than 23,000 deaths from Covid-19.  

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