North Macedonia will buy 200,000 Chinese vaccines

Photo: AP

North Macedonia will seal a deal this week to purchase 200,000 Chinese Sinopharm vaccines, hoping to get them quickly and start inoculating its population, news wires reported, citing Health Minister Venko Felipce. He announced the government has decided at a closed session on Friday to sign an agreement to buy the Synopharm vaccines on Monday. The government also agreed a plan to transport and distribute the vaccines.

"We predict that between 2,000-2,500 people will be inoculated daily via the existing health network," Felipce said at a news conference on Saturday carried on his Facebook page. Health workers and elderly will be the priority, he said.

On Saturday, North Macedonia reported 404 new coronavirus cases and eight deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 94,599 and deaths to 2,916.

Like Balkan neighbours Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia, North Macedonia has not received any vaccines yet under the COVAX scheme led by the WHO and GAVI vaccine alliance, Reuters recalls.

North Macedonia has ordered 800,000 vaccines under the COVAX scheme and another 800,000 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, Felipce said, adding that he hoped they would arrive in phases enabling the inoculation programme to continue.

The COVAX scheme is due to start rolling out vaccines to poor and middle-income countries later this month, with 2 of 3 billion doses expected to be delivered this year.

But it has so far struggled to secure enough shots due to a shortage of funds, while wealthy nations have booked large volumes of vaccines for themselves.

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