After weeks of delays, the Serbian donation of 4,680 doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccines arrived to Macedonia this morning. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev attended the ceremony at the Tabanovce border crossing. These is the first shipment of vaccines Macedonia has received on any grounds, after the Zaev regime was unable to secure a commercial purchase, or follow through on several promised donations, like the one from Bulgaria. A larger quantity of Chinese made vaccines, which the Government reluctantly ordered after failing to secure contracts with Western manufacturers, is expected sometime in February. Serbia, on the other hand, actively courted China, Russia and Western producers, and is now awash in various types of vaccines.
We could have made the delivery 10 days ago but we had a lot of problems with securing an export permit, because of the strict procedures. In the end, I expressed my gratitude to the Pfizer people for enabling this. There are incredibly complex procedures and failing to uphold them leads to sanctions. I am happy that the citizens of Macedonia can now begin the immunization, ahead of some other countries in the region. We are fortunate to help our brothers and friends, Vucic said.
Macedonia is among the last countries in the Balkans to receive any vaccines. Montenegro, Bosnia and Kosovo continue to wait for deliveries.
Zaev said that the delivery of 4,680 out of the expected 8,000 vaccines is “an outstretched hand of support from our neighbors, while we wait for the vaccines we ordered”.
Our closest neighbor gave us the first aid. This act reinforces the bright perspective of relations between Serbia and Macedonia, which are traditionally friendly, Zaev added.
Photographers were at hand to take pictures of the single box of vaccines and the state news agency MIA provided a live stream.
Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce said that the Ministry is prepared to distribute the vaccines and will begin on Wednesday, with inoculation of healthcare workers. The vaccinations will take place in the Mother Teresa clinic in Skopje and all the doses will go to healthcare workers. In the meantime, Macedonia is expected to officially register the vaccine for use in the country.