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Ukraine: Few Takers for Vaccine Ahead of Surge

Ukraine: Few Takers for Vaccine Ahead of Surge

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Vaccine uptake remains low, and hesitancy remains high in Ukraine, where officials hoping to bring down record-high death rates shuttered schools last week in coronavirus hotspots.

Before the latest COVID-19 surge, 12% of Ukrainians interviewed in July said they had been vaccinated against coronavirus. More than six in 10 Ukrainians who said they had not been vaccinated yet said they would not get a vaccine if it were made available to them, which helps explain why months later, the official vaccination rate stands at just under 16%.

Ukrainians' Willingness to Be Vaccinated
Jul 2021
Have you been vaccinated against coronavirus in the past 12 months?
Yes 12
No 88
Would you agree to be vaccinated?*
Yes, would agree 29
No, would not agree 63
No, have health condition that prevents vaccination 4
Don't Know 4
* Asked as "Vaccines are given to people to help prevent specific diseases. If a vaccine to prevent coronavirus was available to you right now at no cost, would you agree to be vaccinated?" of people who said they had not been vaccinated.

Overall, fewer than four in 10 Ukrainians (37%) say they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 or are willing to do so. These data were collected before the most recent surge of the pandemic in Ukraine, which has left the country's healthcare system struggling. In October of last year, before COVID-19 vaccines became available on a large scale, less than half of Ukrainians, 44%, said they would take a vaccine if it was available to them at no cost.

Ukrainians' Overall Willingness to Be Vaccinated for COVID-19
Oct 2020* Jul 2021**
% %
Percent willing to be or have been vaccinated 44 37
*Ukrainians who are willing to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
**Ukrainians who have been or are willing to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Skepticism on vaccines in general in Ukraine is not new. In 2018, as part of the Wellcome Global Monitor, Gallup asked Ukrainians their opinions of vaccines. At that time, 29% of Ukrainians who had heard of vaccines before agreed that vaccines, in general, were safe. Vaccine hesitancy in Ukraine, fanned by rampant misinformation, has previously been identified as a key factor that exacerbated a measles epidemic in the country in 2019.

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