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INFORMATION ON VACCINATION AGAINST CORONAVIRUS IN SERBIA

(updated: 23 April 2021)

Vaccination (immunization) in Serbia began on 24 December (earlier than in the majority of European countries). Prime Minister Ana Brnabic received the first vaccine. She was also the first Prime Minister in Europe to receive the vaccine shot.

Serbia was the third country in Europe, after Britain and Switzerland, to start the vaccination. In Serbia, mass vaccination of the population in the fight against Covid-19 launched on 19 January.

Medical staff was the first to receive the vaccine, the immunization of geriatric centres' patrons followed, and the vaccines were then administered to the personnel of the Ministry of the Interior, Serbian Army and other security services, media representatives and others.

In Serbia, citizens express interest to be vaccinated against Covid-19 through the e-Government portal or by phone - via the contact center, upon which they receive a message with the date and time of vaccination appointment.

The Serbian Government informed that it enabled registering for vaccination against coronavirus via Viber app, starting 6 April, which is available through the official info service of the Serbian Government launched on Viber.

As of 9 April, all local governments will start arranging open vaccination posts where citizens will be able to get vaccine shots without prior registration, while the immunization of citizens who registered via e-Government portal or the Viber app will also be carried out at the same time.
More than 1,700,000 citizens applied through the e-Government portal or contact centers. Between 10,000 and 15,000 citizens apply for vaccination daily through the e-Government portal.
Citizens are able choose the vaccine they wish to receive, and the following are available: Pfizer-BioNTech, Chinese Sinopharm, Russian Sputnik V and AstraZeneca.

Serbia is one of the few countries that has four vaccines at its disposal.

According to the data, 70 percent of those vaccinated received the Sinopharm vaccine (more than a million citizens), 12 percent received the Pfizer vaccine, 9 percent Sputnik V and 9 percent the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The elderly are constantly pleaded with and invited to apply for the vaccine if they have not already, considering that citizens over 70 years of age are a priority. At the same time, citizens of all ages are invited to register and get vaccinated, since immunization has also begun of those who are not in the priority groups. Medical workers have also been vaccinating residents of smaller and rural areas, who have not registered via e-Government.

The importance of vaccination is constantly emphasized, as well as the fact that it is the only solution in the fight against the Covid-19 virus.

According to the latest information, 3.163.499 vaccine doses were given in Serbia, out of which fully vaccinated citizens (having received both doses) account for 1.282.971 (a third of the Serbian adult population). It is estimated that by the end of April, we will have about 40 percent of the adult population vaccinated with the first vaccine dose.

950,000 citizens were fully immunized - which means that three weeks have passed since their second dose, or 5 weeks since their first dose in the case of AstraZeneca.

In the age group between 65 and 74, more than 51 percent of the population has been vaccinated, and in the age group over 75, we have 42 percent of those vaccinated.

*On April 6, President Vucic was vaccinated in Rudna Glava, receiving the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.

On Thursday, 8 April, Serbia broke its own record for the number of persons vaccinated, when more than 75,000 people were vaccinated. This is a result that, in proportion to the number of citizens, even the most developed countries in Europe and the world cannot take pride in.

The goal is to have more than 2,800,000 persons vaccinated, and 2,200,000 revaccinated by the end of May, and more than three million vaccinated and revaccinated persons by the end of June.

Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis, Uzice and Sremska Mitrovica are at the top of the list with about 36 or 37 percent of vaccinated adult citizens.

*Example of Belgrade – 40,8 percent of adult citizens have been vaccinated (574.729 citizens), out of which fully vaccinated citizens 402.416 or 28,6 percent. There are additional 18 posts in city municipalities where they can be vaccinated without making an appointment. When it comes to senior citizens, aged 65 to 74, more than 70,2 percent of that population was vaccinated.


PROCUREMENT OF VACCINES

*On 22 December, the first quantities of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were delivered to Serbia. Serbia is the second country in Europe, after Great Britain, to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

*On 16 January, one million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine arrived.

*On 29 January, 40,000 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine arrived.

*On 9 February, a new consignment of 50,000 Sputnik V vaccines arrived from Russia.

*On 11 February, Russian experts arrived in Serbia and discussed with Serbian experts how to start the production of Russian vaccines in Serbia as soon as possible. They visited the Torlak Institute in order to assess the technological and personnel capacities of the Institute for the production of the Sputnik V vaccine.
President Vucic announced that our country will invest in new plants, new equipment that would meet all standards, with the goal of producing the vaccine in our country. The Sputnik V vaccine would be distributed to the region from our country, but also to European countries.


* On 10 February, another batch of 500,000 Chinese Sinopharm vaccines arrived in Serbia.

* On 15 February, 40,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech company vaccine against coronavirus arrived in Serbia.

*On 21 February, 150,000 AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in Serbia, which have been available at every vaccination post since 23 February. Serbia was the first country in the Balkans to have this vaccine at that point in time.

*On 22 February, 46,800 more Pfizer vaccines arrived in Serbia.

*On 22 February, 50,000 more Sputnik V vaccines were delivered.

*On 28 February, a new consignment of 100,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine arrived (this was a delivery of the second dose of the vaccine - for revaccination), since the first and second doses have a different composition.

*On 1 March, a delivery of 58,500 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines arrived.

*On 4 March - during his official visit to Berlin, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic said that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas informed him that Serbia would soon receive 300,000 vaccines from the COVAX program (the first doses arrived on 2 April).

* On 5 March, 500,000 more Sinopharm vaccines were delivered.

*On 8 March, 28,080 doses of vaccines by Pfizer- BioNTech company arrived.

*On 11 March – Minister Popovic announced that the production of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine at the Torlak Institute will begin in May, and that Serbia will thus become the first country in the territory of Europe where this vaccine is produced.
The first phase of production of the Russian vaccine in Serbia implies transport of the substance, filling of bottles in accordance with the highest technological standards, packaging and distribution of vaccines in our country and region, and after the establishment of the first phase of production, the preparation of a feasibility study will begin on production in the so-called full cycle, which includes the production of the substance in Serbia. This will require the procurement of complex technological equipment and the expansion of Torlak's production capacities, but estimates are that full-cycle production could begin by the end of this year.

*On 11 March – during his visit to the UAE, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced that it had been agreed that, together with the United Arab Emirates and China, a vaccine against the coronavirus of the Chinese company Sinopharm would be produced in Serbia. President Vucic pointed out that, in addition to the timetable made with the competent Russian minister for the production of the Russian vaccine at Torlak, it was agreed that the factory for the Sinopharm vaccine would be completed and start production from 15 October.

*On 15 March - A delivery of 16,380 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived.

*On 18 March - President Aleksandar Vucic talked via video link with the management of Sinopharm company about the process of procuring vaccines, building a factory of Chinese vaccines in Serbia and building and equipping Serbian hospitals. An agreement on the purchase of another two million doses of Sinopharm vaccines was signed at the meeting.

* On 18 March - President Vucic announced that Serbia will have two vaccine factories and will produce between 30 and 40 million doses a year. The President had talks with the representatives of Sinopharm, while Minister Nenad Popovic discussed the production of the Sputnik V vaccine. (He stated that he expected that in less than a year, the liquid for the vaccine would be produced, and not just packaged.)

*On 22 March - 55,990 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were delivered.

*On 23 March - 100,000 doses of the first component of the Sputnik V vaccine arrived in Serbia.

*On 25 March - The Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Institute of Virology, Vaccines and Sera “Torlak” announced that an agreement has been reached on the production of the Sputnik V vaccine in Serbia. This will make our country the first state in Southern Europe to produce Sputnik V, and the vaccine could be exported to other countries in the region at later stages. The production of the vaccine will start by May at Torlak.

*On 29 March - 23,570 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived.

Serbia paid EUR 4.8 million in advance to the COVAX system, and we donated EUR 2 million for the development of the vaccine through the European Commission. Since no vaccines from the COVAX programme were delivered to Serbia, Serbia procured them bilaterally.

*On 2 April, the first consignment of 57,600 AstraZeneca vaccines arrived through the COVAX mechanism.

*On 5 April, half a million Sinopharm vaccines arrived.

The Prime Minister stated that 2.5 million vaccines were delivered to Serbia from China alone, and that a little less than a million of vaccines were delivered by all other manufacturers.

*On 5 April -  The Torlak Institute signed a Technology Transfer Agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Russian pharmaceutical company Generium, under which the Russian side will transmit to the Serbian side data on procedures and technologies required for the production of the Sputnik V vaccine in Serbia.
Minister Nenad Popovic announced that three validation series of the Sputnik V vaccine would be produced in April, and that samples from these validation series would be sent for quality control to the Gamaleya Institute, and after the institute confirms the validity of samples produced at Torlak, our institute would start the production of the vaccine. This is expected to materialize by 20 May this year, and in that way Serbia will become the first country in Europe to produce the Sputnik V vaccine. 

*On 6 April, 106,420 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech were delivered.
With that delivery, Serbia procured a total of 3.5 million vaccines, paid for all the vaccines, as well as all that we received from the COVAX system.

*On 12 April - 106,470 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived.
*14 April – The first series of control doses of the Sputnik V vaccine was filled at Torlak. The vaccines produced at Torlak will be released in June this year.

*15 April – President Vucic announced that another 211,000 Pfizer vaccines would arrive on Monday, 19 April, as well as that 50,000 doses of the second component of the Russian vaccine arrived on 14 April, and that on 16 April another batch of same quantity was expected, as are another 100,000 doses of the Sputnik V first component on Monday or Tuesday. Chinese Sinopharm vaccines are also expected by the end of this month.

*19 April - 211,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Serbia, which is the largest single delivery of that vaccine to our country so far.

VACCINATION OF MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS IN SERBIA

The Serbian Government was among the first in the world to enable the immunization of members of the diplomatic corps in Serbia. All four vaccines are available.

Close to 1,300 members of the diplomatic corps, holders of special ID cards (diplomatic, official, consular, etc.), registered and were vaccinated.

*On 13, 18 and 19 February, Sinopharm vaccines were administered. This completed the first round of vaccination. The second round, that is, revaccination with that vaccine, was carried out on 11 and 12 March.

*On 23 February, vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine began. Revaccination using this vaccine was carried out from 16 to 19 March.

Also, vaccination with Sputnik V and AstraZeneca started.

*On 20 March, remaining revaccinations were performed and it was also made possible for members of the diplomatic corps to receive the vaccine, who for certain reasons could not be vaccinated.


VACCINE DONATIONS TO COUNTRIES IN THE REGION

*On 14 February - President Vucic handed over the first batch of 4,680 Pfizer vaccines to Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev, while on 24 February, Minister Loncar handed over another 3,510 doses of Pfizer vaccine to the Macedonian Minister of Health.

*On 17 February - Serbia donated 2,000 Sputnik V vaccines to Montenegro.

*Approximately 5,000 health care workers from the Republic of Srpska have been vaccinated in Serbia so far, and our country will make the vaccination information system available to the Republic of Srpska so that they can use it when they have enough vaccines.

*On 2 March – Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic handed over to the Chairman and Members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina a batch of 5,000 AstraZeneca company vaccines donated by Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina, while on 12 March, another 5,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered from Serbia.

* On 15 March – all employees of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina were vaccinated at a hospital in Uzice, at the request of that court, in cooperation with the Constitutional Court of Serbia, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Serbian Embassy in Sarajevo.

*On 23 March - vaccination of 105 journalists from North Macedonia began at the Public Health Institute in Vranje. AstraZeneca vaccines for Macedonian journalists were provided at the request of the Macedonian Association of Journalists in cooperation with the Journalists' Association of Serbia, and with the support of the Office of the Serbian President.

*On 23 March - President Aleksandar Vucic handed over ventilators and other medical equipment for the Republic of Srpska. The donation was received by Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik.

*On 24 March - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (PKS) announced that, in cooperation with the Serbian Government, 10,000 vaccines were provided for businessmen from the region and their employees.

*On 29 March - The President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia announced that 8,500 businessmen from the region were vaccinated in Serbia over the weekend (on 27 and 28 March).


*Serbia donated a total of 40,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine to North Macedonia, the first batch of 20,000 vaccines for the first dose arrived on 1 April, and it was announced that the revaccination doses would arrive in the following period.

39,000 foreign nationals were vaccinated (using AstraZeneca vaccine), who arrived either at the invitation of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce or registered on their own via the e-Government portal. Prime Minister Brnabic stated that the vaccination of people from the region was a huge success and assessed that this was a way to raise common security, because if people in the region were not safe, people in Serbia were not safe either. The most numerous were citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Montenegro

*On 8 April - The Prime Minister stated that Serbia was currently focused on vaccinating its citizens, but that we would endeavour to help friends and neighbours in the fight against coronavirus through vaccine donations.

Around 53,000 foreign nationals who do not have a registered residence in Serbia have applied for vaccination in Serbia, by registering for vaccination via the e-Government portal. Foreign nationals are currently not being vaccinated, but Serbian citizens only, and once they have been vaccinated the option of vaccinating registered foreign nationals will be considered. Vaccination is free in Serbia, and the same applies to foreign nationals who get a vaccine shot in our country.

Advertisements for vaccination through agencies have appeared on social media and the internet, however, it is not possible to make a vaccination appointment in Serbia through any foreign or domestic travel agency, and these are internet frauds.

*On 8 April - The Government has decided to send a donation of 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to the Canton of Sarajevo.

*On 9 April - 29 journalists from the Sarajevo Canton Television were vaccinated in Novi Pazar.

On 10 April - Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik stated that he had agreed with the Serbian President that around 20,000 vaccines would be delivered from Serbia to the Republic of Srpska early next week.

VACCINATION OF MIGRANTS


*On 24 March, the vaccination of migrants started in the outpatient clinic of the migrant center in Krnjaca. Around 500 migrants have registered.
Head of UNHCR Office in Serbia Francesca Bonelli pointed out that this UN agency was deeply grateful to the Serbian authorities for including the refugees in the vaccination plan.


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