9 Nov 2009

Ukraine: Vaccine Ban Blamed For Sweeping Epidemic

Elections may be postponed while martial law continues. Health minister says one in two will get flu because vaccination was halted earlier this year due to deaths

The severity of the mystery epidemic in Ukraine has been blamed on a ban on flu vaccines that was imposed in September after a series of deaths, mostly of children, who had received the shot at government health clinics.


The charge has been made by Oleksy Hromazyn, spokesman for Ukraine's Ministry of Emergency Situations, who said that the effective absence of flu vaccinations in Ukraine since September has helped widen and deepen the impact of the present flu outbreak, according to a report from the German agency dpa.

Hromazyn commented that every second Ukrainian will catch the flu this season because of the recent moratorium on vaccines.

The charge will strengthen calls from President Victor Yushchenko for the Ukrainian population to immediately get inoculated with the new vaccines despite their severe reservations over the safety of the flu shots.

Hromazyn is member of the National Security and Defense Council, the body that has been elevated to the supreme authority in Ukraine by Yushchenko in the wake of an epidemic that is still shrouded in mystery.