Serbia helps virus-hit North Macedonia, donates Pfizer Covid-19

Photo: AP

Serbia on Sunday donated a first batch of 8,000 doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to North Macedonia, which is yet to deliver its first jabs, AP reported. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and North Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev attended a border checkpoint handover ceremony of the shipment, praising friendship between the two neighboring Balkan states.

Serbia, a country of 7m, has so far vaccinated some 600,000 people, mainly with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine and Russian Sputnik V, and to a lesser extent with the Pfizer jab. The country has been one of the most successful in Europe in terms of how fast it has rolled out the vaccine among its population.

By contrast, North Macedonia, like most of other Western Balkan countries, has not yet secured a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine for its population of 2.1m. Many of the states in the region are reconsidering their strategy of waiting for Western-supplied shots and are mulling the purchase of the Chinese and Russian ones.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” Vucic said, while Zaev praised him for showing the “real solidarity in practice."

The vaccine handover had to be postponed last week because Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech had demanded “additional documentation” from Serbia on the re-export of its shots, Vucic said.

Vucic’s opponents in Serbia have called his vaccine donation to North Macedonia another of his populist political moves meant to portray him as the main regional leader. They say many in Serbia are still waiting in line to get inoculated with their first choice Pfizer shots.

Earlier this week, North Macedonian authorities signed an agreement to procure 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, with which they hope to launch their vaccination program later this month.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

Similar articles

  • Albania's lawmakers vote to impeach president

    Albania's lawmakers vote to impeach president

    Albania's parliament voted on Wednesday to sack President Ilir Meta over statements which the ruling party said advocated violence and violated the constitution, Reuters reported from Tirana. Some 104 of parliament's 140 deputies voted for Meta to be dismissed more than a year before the end of his term, the first time this has happened in Albania since the multi-party system was introduced in 1991. The Constitutional Court, whose approval is needed to formalise parliament's decision, is expected to rule within three months.

    32
  • UN tribunal confirms Mladic's life sentence for Srebrenica genocide

    UN tribunal confirms Mladic's life sentence for Srebrenica genocide

    The UN War Crimes Tribunal on Tuesday confirmed the sentence of life imprisonment handed down to former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic for the Srebrenica genocide, news wires reported. The confirmation was in the last instance and upheld an earlier verdict. In the first instance, the now 78-year-old accused was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    36
  • UN judges to rule on Ratko Mladic's appeal against genocide conviction

    UN judges to rule on Ratko Mladic's appeal against genocide conviction

    The Hague tribunal will deliver on Tuesday its final verdict on Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic's appeal against his genocide conviction for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, news wires reported. The so-called "Butcher of Bosnia" was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017 for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1992-5 Bosnia war.

    43