UPDATE 1-Ukrainian partner seeks approval for China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

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KYIV, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Ukrainian pharmaceutical company Lekhim said on Tuesday it had submitted documents to Ukrainian authorities seeking approval for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac.

Lekhim, one of Sinovac’s partners, has an agreement with China’s leading vaccine manufacturer to deliver 5 million doses of the vaccine in Ukraine, including 1.9 million via a state procurement scheme, in the first half of 2021.

But it must obtain state registration in Ukraine before starting the shipment.

The importer plans to deliver the first batch of the vaccine by the end of March, although that may be delayed until early April because of regulatory hold-ups.

Ukraine, which has reported over 1.2 million cases of infection so far, has not registered any vaccines against COVID-19 to date.

The government plans to start vaccinations this month, as soon as it receives the first 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine under the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.

Ukraine also expects 2.2-3.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from COVAX in the first half of this year.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said the country of 41 million people has also secured from the Serum Institute of India another 12 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, including the AstraZeneca shot and another developed by Novavax. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets. Editing by Jon Boyle and Mark Potter)