Ukraine’s Health Minister, Maxim Stepanov, has announced his presence in India over failed delivery of COVID-19 vaccines ordered from the South Asian country.
The minister made this known through a Facebook post on Friday.
In his post, Stepanov announced that he wanted to bargain extra supplies of the 12 million vaccines that Ukraine had already ordered from India.
Ukraine’s vaccination campaign was due to start last week, but the country has not received any jabs from the program of the World Health Organisation (WHO) nor those it ordered from Indian and Chinese manufacturers.
According to reports, the 41 million inhabitants of Kiev will be vaccinated against the deadly virus by the end of the year.
Early, the country banned the use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine due to the conflict over the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
According to official figures, some 1.3 million COVID-19 infections were registered in Ukraine since the beginning of the pandemic and around 25,000 people have died from the deadly virus that has affected a large population of the world.
Earlier, Stepanov lashed out at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine during his morning briefing, accusing it of trying to disrupt the COVID-19 vaccination that is about to begin in Ukraine.
Stepanov’s reaction comes after the NABU opened an investigation earlier in February into the alleged embezzlement committed by the health ministry officials during the procurement of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The investigation looks into the ministry’s choice of a Ukrainian company that it’s using as an intermediary to buy 1.9 million doses of the vaccine made by Sinovac Biotech, a Chinese company.
The NABU opened the investigation after receiving a complaint that accused Stepanov of illicit interfering in the procurement process and lobbying for a specific company to be an intermediary. This increased the price of the vaccines for Ukraine.
The health minister, however, denied those allegations as baseless.