President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday instructed law enforcement officers to urgently check information about the alleged importation of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine into the country.
Ukrainian police are investigating reports that some citizens have been illegally injected with unapproved vaccines costing up to 3,000 euros per dose.
Some Ukrainian media outlets reported that a clinic in Kyiv had begun inoculating people, probably with the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, at a charge of up to 3,000 euros ($3,683) per dose.
The reports said the vaccine could have been brought in from Israel and that several top officials and business figures had been vaccinated.
The president said that he instructed the Security Service and other law enforcement agencies to immediately check information about the alleged smuggling of the coronavirus vaccine into Ukraine.
“If someone really thought of secretly and in violation of the law to import a vaccine for sale, the reaction should be as harsh as possible,” Zelensky asserted.
Zelensky also said the government has a clear vaccination plan: people from risk groups and those who are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 will be the first to receive vaccinations.
“There should be punishment for smuggling and counterfeiting,” the head of state said.
Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said that none of the newly developed vaccines has yet been certified in Ukraine.
“And I’m sure no rational person would get vaccinated with drugs of unknown origin,” Shmygal said.
More than 1 million COVID-19 infections and 19,357 deaths confirmed in Ukraine since the start of the pandemic.
Ukraine signed a contract in December to buy 1.9 million doses of Chinese vaccine which expected to be delivered soon.
The Prime minister said last month the first shots of China’s Sinovac vaccine could arrive in February.
As reported, Ukrainian pharmaceutical company Biolik backed by a prominent Russian-leaning opposition figure said it has applied for state approval to make Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.