Which Ukrainians will be able to travel across Europe after the opening of the borders? Yesterday, a relevant signal sounded from the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, reports The New York Times.
According to the head of the EC, vaccinated citizens from other countries will definitely be able to get into the EU, but only with a drug approved by the European Medicines Agency:
One thing is clear: all 27 EU countries will unconditionally accept everyone who is vaccinated with drugs approved by the European Medicines Agency.
Even without specifying a specific date for the opening of the borders, it becomes clear that there is not long to wait. By early summer, the European Union plans to introduce vaccination passports, with which it will be possible to both enter and move around the EU countries without hindrance.
Currently, 4 drugs are approved for use in the European Union: Moderna, Pfizer (Comirnaty), AstraZeneka (Vaxzevria) and Johnson & Johnson. However, the likelihood that this list will be expanded in the near future is quite high. But so far it contains only two vaccines that are imported to Ukraine – AstraZeneca and Pfizer. Subject to the European approval of Novavax (pending), there will be 3 of them, since Ukraine has already agreed on their supply. With the approval of the Russian Sputnik, the list will not expand, since it is banned for use in the country.
What does Ukraine have today from the above list of vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency? Pfizer – 117,000 doses are still available, enough for 58,500 people. This is the first tranche in the framework of the international humanitarian aid Covax. The Ministry of Health also announces an agreement to purchase 10 million doses by the end of the year, although so far this is only a framework agreement. That is, so far only a little more than 58 thousand Ukrainians can count on holidays in the EU countries, who will receive the Pfizer vaccine.
It’s even more difficult with AstraZeneka. Approximately 250,000 Ukrainians are to be vaccinated with the Indian drug Covishield, made according to the AstraZeneka analogue. But the drug is not registered in the EU, so it cannot meet the requirements of the EC. It is likely that it will be equated with the official analogue, but so far the movement in this direction is imperceptible. So, 250 thousand Ukrainians vaccinated by Covishield are unlikely to be able to get to Europe.
More hopes for AstraZeneka from South Korea, which recently sent 370 thousand doses for 185 thousand people. Although part of it will be spent on re-vaccination after Covishield, in the hope that such a vaccination will be recognized by the EU.
That is, at the moment, it can be expected that approximately 243,500 Ukrainians will be vaccinated with drugs approved in the European Union and will be able to travel to Europe. But in fact, their number will be much smaller, since vaccinations depend on the age category and not all people 65+ will express a desire to go on vacation abroad.
As an option – 10 million doses of American Novavax, planned by the end of the year. Deliveries are due to begin in August at 2 million monthly. For everything to work out for an overseas vacation, two conditions will be required – timely deliveries and approval of the drug in the EU.