Chargé d’Affaires Kristina Kvien’s Remarks at COVID-19 Vaccination Site in Odesa City

Odesa, Ukraine
July 5, 2021

Great, thanks everybody! It’s really nice to be here today in Odesa. I’d like to thank the Deputy Governor for joining us today and also just thank all of the staff here at the clinic, thank you for showing me around and giving me a sense of the work that they do. I was able to see the site where they give vaccinations, I even got to see one vaccination delivered, and I got to talk to some people who have just been vaccinated and they all seemed really happy and relieved they have now gotten a vaccination and in a couple of weeks will be covered.

And maybe just a couple words about the work that we do here more generally in Odesa and on COVID vaccinations here in Ukraine.  

I think you might have heard earlier that the United States government has been working with the Ukrainian government for years on vaccinations for TB and HIV, childhood immunizations and other illnesses that have been common for quite a long time. And so really the work that we’ve been doing with COVID-19 is an extension of the work that we’ve been doing for many years on public health.    

As I think we’ve seen in the United States, which had a very serious COVID epidemic, vaccination is really the key to overcoming the disease and eradicating the epidemic. Which is why it’s so good to be here today to see the frontline health workers who are helping Ukraine to reduce this epidemic every day.  

And the United States wants to play its part in helping Ukraine and other countries around the world receive enough vaccines to make sure that everyone who wants a vaccine is able to get it.    

The United States is the largest global contributor to the Covax Facility, we’ve given over $4 billion to that facility to help distribute vaccines around the world.

And it’s not just money, it’s vaccines that the United States is donating. We have done a very large donation globally and I’m very happy that Ukraine will be a significant recipient of some of that vaccine. 

And just this month, or about a month ago President Biden announced that he will purchase another 500 million additional doses of Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to contribute to Covax, which is the facility that is sharing these vaccines around the world, including with Ukraine.

And I think it’s important to note that vaccines themselves are extremely important, of course, but also being able to distribute those vaccines and to keep them at the proper temperature as they go around the countries is also very important, and USAID here in Ukraine has been working very hard to set up distribution networks and cold chain networks that allow the vaccine to be100% ready to go when it’s ready to be put in arms.  

And as a vaccine advocate myself, I just want to encourage everyone to think very carefully to get your vaccine and I think it’s the way to protect yourself and it’s the way to protect your family, it’s the way to enable your social network and also the Ukrainian economy to get back at full steam. And as you’ve seen in the United States, the level of vaccination has really helped to bring our numbers of COVID down quite significantly and I just hope that Ukraine can experience the same outcome from heavy vaccinations here in Ukraine.   

So, the United States government is looking forward to continue our work with Ukraine and around the world to help reduce COVID and ultimately wipe it out. And I’m happy to take your questions.