Doctor Aleksandar Petlickovski, head of the Committee on infectious diseases, estimates that 3,000 lives could’ve been saved in Macedonia if people did not trust the conspiracy theories surrounding Covid. Throughout the pandemic, Macedonia had one of the highest death rates in the world, which the public attributed to poor treatment protocols and lack of vaccines, while the Healthcare Ministry blamed on poor overall health and, now, on conspiracy theories.

A lot of this is due to the spreaders of conspiracy theories. If we acted more soberly and reasonably from the start and accepted the vaccines that were offered early in the pandemic, we would’ve had 2 or 3 thousand less victims. We gave too much room to various theories. We have the lowest vaccination rate, Petlickovski said, citing some of the more outrageous theories such as the link between the virus and 5G technology.

Macedonia was among the last countries in Europe to receive meaningful shipments of vaccines, as former Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce refused Russian deliveries while apparently tried to reach a highly corrupt deal to purchase Chinese vaccines.