Learn a few insights all about vaccines and a trip to the doctor!
Medicine availability in Ukraine is usually a simple process. It’s not difficult to find just about any type of common drug at the local pharmacy. Even antibiotics can be purchased without a doctors script. Most Ukrainians avoid a doctors visit until they have tried their own remedies.
Homeopathy is alive and well in Ukraine. Self help is usually the first choice for simple ailments and pains.
Even though a doctors visit costs nothing for most Ukrainians, most try to avoid it. Natural remedies like herbs are often the go-to first choice remedy. Most of the time, after advice from friends and family, many end up going to the doctors anyway.
Homeopathy is alive and well in Ukraine. I am sure that at least half of the time, natural remedies work. That brings me to the subject of medicine quality and availability in Ukraine. Doctors are often cautious at recommending medicines they have little experience with.
Most that we have interacted with over the past fourteen years recommend brand names they know and trust.
Of course, many medicines available in Ukraine may only be available from one manufacturer. Thank god for the Internet and the ability to do a little research before purchasing medications on your own. Ordering vaccines online is just the first step to getting that flu shot.
The country of Ukraine currently has a population of something close to 44 million. It’s estimated that the country imported half a million influenza doses for the 2019–2020 flu season. Unfortunately, less than 250,000 actually received the vaccine. That is most likely due to the fact that Ukrainians must pay for the flu vaccine. It is not free to citizens here. Close to ten percent of of the total vaccinated were children. That’s probably why Ukrainian public schools are shutdown several times during each flu season in most cities.
Surprisingly, the government reports that few Ukrainians die from influenza every year. I am sure that is due to inadequate record keeping and inaccurate reporting.
I am sure the actual number of fatalities is far higher. This fact is common in most countries around the world.
So, the process to get that shot is more complicated than a routine doctors visit. We ordered two doses of the tetravalent Vaxigrip Tetra in early September. This is a vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur, a French company. We were told it would be about one month before it would be available. It was actually closer to two months.
A fun story about Mom retold by Larisa.
In order to be kept updated that the vaccine was available to purchase, my wife joined a group in Viber. She was told to wait until the vaccines were delivered to the pharmacy before proceeding. Before the vaccine can be distributed, it must pass Ukrainian lab tests for it’s quality etc. This is done when it first arrives in Ukraine.
From production to the time of actually getting the shot, vaccines must be kept cool. Temperatures between 35 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 to 8 Celsius must be maintained at all times.
That means that before purchasing your vaccine, you need to schedule a checkup by your doctor to make sure you are healthy. The doctor will check your breathing and blood pressure. That’s just to make sure you don’t have symptoms of a virus now.
Before going in for that checkup, you need to run to the pharmacy with a cold box of some kind. My wife purchased a small cooler the size of a six pack for this. You need to make sure that the vaccines are kept cool for that trip to the doctor. You have less than one hour for this process.
Once the doctor finishes with your checkup, you are sent to another doctor to give the shot. My wife and I received our annual flu shots yesterday. Yes, we are fine with just a little discomfort at the injection site. Here is the cool part of this annual adventure.
Cost for two vaccines $26. The doctors examination along with the injection were completely free. The walk to the pharmacy is ten minutes from our flat.
The public hospital is a five minute walk from our flat. Living in Ukraine has it’s benefits. Just be patient and remember that things are done differently than you are used to. Hope you found this information helpful.