Discussing the uneven start to coronavirus vaccination in the Balkans, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said that Macedonia, which is now lagging behind Albania and hasn’t done even token vaccinations, was promised only 100 vaccines from Bulgaria – and didn’t even get that.
Top Macedonian Government officials, such as Zoran Zaev and his Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce, failed to secure Pfizer vaccines, but said that Bulgaria will share a portion of the vaccines it receives. Filipce traveled to Sofia and afterwards announced that the technical details of the transport are being arranged. But later it was revealed that Bulgaria can’t share any of its vaccines, and now Rama says that the quantity was going to be symbolic anyway.
Macedonia did not begin vaccinating, and it is not her fault. Bulgaria didn’t given them the donation because it wanted to use it for itself, Rama said, adding that the donation was going to be only 100 vaccines. Rama said that Albania is vaccinating some of its critical staff now only thanks to a donation from an EU member state in the region, which he wouldn’t specify.
The opposition VMRO-DPMNE party blamed Zaev and Filipce for leaving Macedonia last in the region in the line for vaccines.
How were Albania and Serbia able to get vaccines, but Zaev and Filipce weren’t? Where are the vaccines from Bulgaria which Filipce announced? Where are the vaccines from Greece that Zaev talked about?, the opposition party asked.
EU member states in the region such as Greece and Bulgaria have been vaccinating their key staff for a while. Serbia is receiving large quantities of vaccines both from the West and from China and Russia. Albania is now doing the initial vaccinations of key staff.