On July 20, the 5th stage of vaccination began in Ukraine. From that moment on, every willing Ukrainian over the age of 18 can be vaccinated. There are no exceptions. As of August 16, 7,793,098 vaccinations were carried out, 2,791,305 people have been fully vaccinated. This means that 6.74 % of the population has been vaccinated. It’s not much, is it? Just compare, 71 % of the population is vaccinated in the UAE, 64 % in Denmark, 50 % in Lithuania.
WHY HAVE WE UNDERTAKEN THE IT PROFESSIONALS VACCINATION?
It is important to pool resources and work together to achieve national goals. A year ago, we faced a similar quest during the #AntiVirus campaign, when we consolidated our efforts and helped doctors in the fight against COVID-19. The case of collective vaccination is no exception. The task was to vaccinate as many IT specialists as possible in the shortest possible time.
Our history of collective vaccination began in April 2021. Then the member companies began to apply to IT Ukraine Association with a request for vaccination from their employees. It was difficult to organize the process alone, since the vaccine is purchased only by the state through public procurement. The solution was to pool resources and to submit a collective letter from the industry to the Ministry of Health. It was at this time that the Ministry of Health issued a decree on collective vaccination. It stated that any company of 50+ people could vaccinate their employees. To do this, it was only necessary to gather a team of the willing ones in a place that meets all sanitary standards.
Then we contacted the Ministry of Health and initiated a meeting on May 17, the purpose of which was to organize a collective vaccination of IT specialists under the auspices of the Association. We also invited representatives of IT clusters to the meeting. This was to help us organize vaccination in the regions. Interestingly, at that time some IT companies had already submitted collective applications on their own, but they did not receive a response.
The three reasons why we decided to initiate a campaign of collective vaccination of IT specialists in Ukraine:
- Request from our participants
As of April 2021, every second member company of the Association has asked us for help. Within the companies themselves, the request came directly from IT specialists. We remind that as of August 17, 2021, the Association has 72 participating companies, which unite over 50 thousand IT specialists;
- Established system of interaction with the Ministry of Health and partners
Our experience in organizing the #AntiVirus campaign to help doctors fight COVID-19 was successful, so we decided to coordinate the vaccination process;
- Proactive approach of IT specialists
IT specialists are a fairly progressive group of the population, so we hoped that they would become the ambassadors of vaccination in Ukraine.
FILLING THE LISTS OF THOSE WILLING TO BE VACCINATED
After meeting with the Ministry of Health, we were given a week to compile lists of those willing to be vaccinated from IT companies and clusters. The list we submitted to the Ministry of Health included over 30,000 IT specialists. If we talk about the geography of the campaign, at the start it had 19 cities in Ukraine. In Kyiv alone, there were 13,000 people willing to be vaccinated.
IT companies had 3 options to participate in the collective vaccination campaign: submit a list of applicants through IT Ukraine / through the IT cluster / use both options.
LISTS READY: WHAT’S NEXT?
So, the lists are ready. Our further task was to send a letter to the Ministry of Health, get their confirmation and — the most important step — get the contacts of regional coordinators for vaccination in the regions. These are the people responsible for the distribution of the vaccine in the region, the departure of medical teams to the field, and so on. Kyiv was the first to respond, so we contacted the coordinator and finally started. In the first batch of vaccines, the distribution between the participating companies was as follows: we divided the vaccine between large, medium and small companies in proportion and according to the first response to the proposal to be vaccinated.
As of August 16, we received 3 batches of the vaccine from the Ministry of Health:
- 5 thousand Pfizer
- 5 thousand Pfizer
- 5 thousand Moderna
Speaking in numbers, we are talking about 8,000 vaccinated IT specialists in Kyiv alone, over 70 visits of medical teams, 50 IT companies that joined the vaccination process. It should also be borne in mind that in one visit a medical team can vaccinate approximately 120–150 people, if two medical teams work simultaneously, then about 300 people. So in large companies, the process was a little easier to arrange. If there the number of applicants from the company was smaller, we combined them on the basis of one company. The Association also organized the vaccination process in Kyiv Astarta Business Center, where IT specialists came.
Also, with our participation, vaccination took place in the regions: about 600–700 IT specialists were vaccinated on the basis of IT cluster in Chernihiv, 4,000 through IT Dnipro Community, about 1,000 in Odesa.
WHAT DIFFICULTIES WE ENCOUNTERED
We have vaccinated over 8,000 IT specialists with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Some people want to be vaccinated only with Pfizer and have prejudices against other vaccines available in Ukraine. And this is despite the fact that IT companies carry out awareness-raising work among employees.
The 3rd batch of Moderna was not as active: we could get more vaccines, up to 6–8 thousand, but did not gather willing people. It is important to emphasize that companies carry out awareness-raising work among employees in the context of vaccination. They talk about various vaccines, how they differ and so on.
Our starting list of 30,000 people willing to be vaccinated has become quite conditional. We understand that now the situation has changed: some people have already been vaccinated, some have changed their minds, and some have gone on vacation. Updating data requires a lot of resources — both from companies and the Association. Every week we receive up-to-date information on the amount of available vaccine that we can get according to our lists from the Ministry of Health. Our further task is to provide up-to-date information to companies, conditionally “distribute” the vaccine between them and coordinate with medical teams. This is a constant and rather resource-intensive process.
As of August 17, all our 72 member companies and partners of the Association are involved in the collective vaccination campaign. In addition, we have received inquiries from 15+ IT companies that are not yet members of the ITU community, but it is important for us to support them in such an important matter. We received over 8,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and vaccinated IT specialists in Kyiv and the regions.
The collective vaccination campaign continues and we are very grateful for the partnership to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and to numerous medical teams, in whose hands our health nearly literally is. We are grateful to IT clusters for synergy at work, to IT companies for proactive approach and quickly built processes, and to IT specialists for a responsible attitude towards their health and the health of others. Without all of you, this campaign would not be possible. Once again, we are convinced that the proactive approach and synergy of business and government efforts can overcome any challenge.