Serbia outperforms EU, W. Balkans in COVID vaccination

Bosnia, Kosovo remain only countries without vaccines, Serbia distributes its vaccines in region

By Talha Ozturk

Serbia is ahead of the European Union and Western Balkan countries in vaccination against the novel coronavirus.

Following the United Kingdom, Serbia ranks second in Europe in the number of vaccinated people compared to the population.

The number of people who received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine surpassed 1.2 million, while more than 428,000 of them got the second dose.

Meanwhile, North Macedonia received nearly 5,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from Serbia, and Montenegro received 2,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Montenegro on Tuesday began its vaccination campaign against COVID-19 with 2,000 doses donated by Serbia. Another 5,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will arrive on Thursday, while 30,000 doses of the Chinese company Sinopharm’s vaccine will leave Beijing on Saturday.

North Macedonia, a country of 2.1 million, also began its vaccination campaign after Serbia’s donation. The government in Skopje expects 200,000 vaccines from the Sinopharm this week.

The first 5,850 doses of 800,000 vaccines ordered directly from Pfizer for this year are expected to arrive by the end of February, another 17,550 doses in March, and at least as many in April.

In Croatia, more than 93,000 people received the first dose of the vaccine, and more than 50,000 received the second.

On Tuesday, the first day of mass vaccination for the second dose in the capital Zagreb was welcomed by citizens that made long lines and waited several hours to receive the jab.

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– Bosnia, Kosovo remain without vaccines

Elsewhere in the region, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo remain as the only countries that did not receive any vaccines.

Hundreds of Bosnian Serb medical workers have crossed the border into Serbia to receive a vaccine shot.

The Bosnian Serbs were vaccinated in three Serbian towns near the Bosnia and Herzegovina border.

Officials said about 2,000 health staff from Bosnia’s Republika Srpska entity have applied for the inoculation.

Bosnian Serbs have close ties with Serbia, while other parts of Bosnia are dominated by Bosniaks — who are mostly Muslims — and Croats, who have tense relations with Bosnian Serbs and their allies in Belgrade.

The regions were set up in the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the war in Bosnia.

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