EC and Austria secure 651,000 BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines for Western Balkans

The doses will be used for inoculation of health care workers and other vulnerable groups

Photo: EU Olivér Várhelyi.

The Commission and Austria announced on Tuesday the conclusion of agreements for the delivery of 651,000 BioNTech/Pfizer doses Covid-19 vaccines for the Western Balkans that will be used for inoculation of health care workers and other vulnerable groups.

Funded by the EU executive, the vaccines will be shared with the facilitation of Austria. The first delivery to all six countries in the region is due in May, with regular tranches to continue until August.

Despite the current global shortage, the EU will deliver life-saving vaccines for the Western Balkans, Enlargement and Neighbourhood Commissioner, Olivér Várhelyi, commented.

He recalled that the EU has provided support from the start of the pandemic with emergency medical equipment like masks, ventilators, intensive care units and ambulance vehicles and by strengthening the resilience.

Now, we will help ensure the vaccination of all frontline medical workers across the region, as well as some of the other vulnerable groups, the Commissioner said. He added: “We care about the Western Balkans whose future is in the European Union”.

Austria has facilitated the sharing of these vaccines through legal arrangements with the producer and the Western Balkan partners.

The doses are funded from the €70m package adopted by the Commission in December 2020 to help cover the cost of vaccines, secured under the EU's advance purchase agreements for the Western Balkan partners.

The overall distribution between countries will be based on the epidemiological needs, prioritising in first instance medical workers and other vulnerable groups.


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