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EU to deliver 651,000 BioNTech/Pfizer jabs to Western Balkans

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:21, April 21, 2021

BRUSSELS, April 20 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) will deliver 651,000 doses of BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the Western Balkan region, said European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi on Tuesday.

The doses destined to the Western Balkans will be financed by the European Commission from the 70 million euro package it adopted in December last year "to help cover the cost of vaccines, secured under the EU's advance purchase agreements for the Western Balkan partners," according to the European Commission.

The doses will be delivered from May to August, and are specifically aimed at frontline healthcare workers to ensure that the healthcare system can continue operating.

Once healthcare workers are vaccinated, the remaining doses should be used to protect vulnerable people, said Varhelyi.

"Now, we will help ensure the vaccination of all frontline medical workers across the region, as well as some of the other vulnerable groups," declared Varhelyi.

The EU's deal with the Germany's BioNTech was concluded on Monday, facilitated by the Austrian government.

The distribution pattern was decided according to the specific epidemiological situation. In the case of Serbia, a country with an already advanced vaccination campaign, the number of vaccines doses delivered will be less than for others, explained the commissioner.

Serbia has adopted an approach to secure multi-channel vaccine supplies, and over 25 percent of its population have received at least one jab of the vaccines as of April 11.

In addition to the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and those developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca, Serbia also purchased vaccine doses from China's Sinopharm.

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