Ukraine sees record Covid-19 vaccinations as deaths soar

KIEV (AFP) – Ukraine on Wednesday (Oct 20) reported record coronavirus vaccination numbers as the country re-imposed restrictions amid a surge in infections and deaths.

According to a government tally, 226,587 people were vaccinated over the past 24 hours – the highest figure since the beginning of the ex-Soviet country’s vaccination drive in February.

A flurry of pictures on social media showed long queues of people in vaccination centres in cities across the country in recent days.

The rush came after restrictions came into force on Monday in several regions in the east and south of the country worst hit by surging coronavirus cases.

“It is only with mass vaccination and compliance with quarantine that we can avoid a further increase of infections,” Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Ukraine reported 538 deaths over the past 24 hours, the highest figure since the beginning of the pandemic.

Authorities in the country of around 41 million people initially struggled to source vaccines and convince Ukrainians to innoculate themselves.

But the rise in infections and deaths – and new requirements for staff in public places like schools and theatres to be vaccinated – has convinced many to get the jab in recent days.

Four vaccines, including AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna, are available in Ukraine, but only 19 per cent of adult Ukrainians have been fully vaccinated, according to the government.

The vaccination campaign has also been hampered by a rise in forged vaccination certificates and fake PCR tests.

Ukraine has recorded more than 2.6 million coronavirus infections and over 61,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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