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UPDATE 1-Ukraine pharma group to supply 5 mln doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in H1

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KYIV, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Ukrainian pharmaceutical company Lekhim hopes to register China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in early February and to deliver 5 million doses in Ukraine in the first half of 2021, the head of its supervisory board said on Wednesday.

Lekhim has signed an agreement with China’s leading vaccine manufacturer, Sinovac Biotech, but it must obtain state registration in Ukraine before starting to make deliveries.

“I think we will register the vaccine by February 1-5,” Valeriy Pechaiev told journalists.

He said that the first shipment, starting from March, would be 1.9 million doses, procured by the health ministry.

Ukraine’s presidential office said in late December that the health minister had signed a contract to buy Sinovac doses.

The Sinovac vaccine will be supplied independently of the COVAX initiative, which is co-led by the GAVI vaccine alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Ukraine hopes to receive 8 million doses under the COVAX scheme.

Coronavirus infections in Ukraine began rising in September and have been consistently high ever since, triggering several national lockdowns.

A total of 1,130,839 coronavirus cases have been registered in Ukraine with 20,214 deaths as of Wednesday. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Ilya Zhegulev; Editing by Jane Merriman and Nick Macfie)

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