10/26/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/26/2021 00:12
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%.
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.
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.