While its neighbours in the Western Balkans have struggled to secure vaccines at all — so far only Albania has managed to start vaccinating its population — Serbia has embarked on one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in Europe.
Serbia has so far agreed to purchase about 6.5mn vaccines against coronavirus (COVID-19), President Aleksandar Vucic stated on January 28.
As of January 27, Serbia had vaccinated 5.3 citizens per hundred, second only to the UK and on a par with Malta, while the average in Europe was 2.68, according to figures compiled by Our World in Data.
However, Vucic criticised richer countries for buying up more vaccines than they needed. He said that some rich countries took up to six times more vaccines than their inhabitants, as if they wanted to vaccinate “all puppies and kittens”, which is why other countries cannot vaccinate their citizens, reported Beta.
Serbia has responded by buying up vaccines from several different sources — the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and Russia’s Sputnik V as well as vaccines from China.
Vucic confirmed the announcements by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic that a total of 40,000 Sputnik V vaccines from Russia will arrive in Serbia soon, and said the two countries would have new talks in which Serbia would try to procure new doses of vaccines.
One million doses of coronavirus vaccine from China arrived in Serbia earlier. There are also announcements of the start of production of the Russian vaccine in Serbia.
Serbian ambassador to Russia Miroslav Lazanski says that a delegation from Russia is supposed to arrive at the Torlak Institute in Serbia by the end of the current week or at the beginning of next week, in order to examine the staff and technical capacities of the institute and whether it is able to produce the Sputnik V vaccine, reported Tanjug.