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J. Joksimović: I expect vaccine procurement from Covax to continue

April 02 2021 | Belgrade

J. Joksimović: I expect vaccine procurement from Covax to continue

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has stated that tonight Serbia has received the first doses of vaccines from the Covax Facility, expressing her hope that the vaccine procurement from this programme will continue in the same pace.

She has stressed that 57,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine have been delivered within the first batch, which will serve to continue the immunisation of the Serbian citizens as well as citizens from the region.

“With these vaccines, Serbia can responsibly and efficiently continue to protect the health of its citizens and show solidarity towards the region”, said Joksimović at the press conference at the ‘Nikola Tesla’ airport, adding that it is important for Serbia to have enough vaccines at any given time.

Joksimović has recalled that, in July and August 2020, Serbia was among the first countries to engage in the establishment of Covax as a global facility for an even allocation of vaccines.

She has stressed that the EU is the largest donor within the Covax Facility, recalling that in 2020 Serbia pledged EUR 2.1 million for vaccine development and the establishment of the Covax Facility.

The Minister has noted that Serbia allocated significant funds for that purpose, given its parameters and compared to the amounts allocated by certain EU member states.

She has stated that the Covax delivery was delayed due to delivery issues both in the EU and across the globe, stressing that Serbia has never blamed either the EU or Covax for that.

She has recalled that, owing to its responsible behaviour and great engagement of the President and the Government, Serbia has managed to procure vaccines in multiple ways, patiently waiting for the doses from the Covax programme that have now arrived.

She has invited all citizens to get vaccinated, adding that the state has worked responsibility and arduously to procure a lot of vaccines while, on the other hand, a large part of the world still has no access to the vaccine.

She has stressed that Serbian citizens can choose the vaccine they want to get.

Joksimović has called for raising awareness of the importance of vaccination through campaigns, stressing that Serbia is quite noted in Europe for vaccination procurement and immunisation, as well as for its solidarity towards the citizens of the region.

The Minister has said that new doses of vaccines are negotiated with Brussels on a daily basis.

“No one is safe if all of us are not safe. That is why I think this batch is important and that it will open the door for regular delivery of vaccines from the Covax Facility”, said Joksimović.

Dr Abebayehu Assefa Mengistu, the WHO Deputy Director-General, has commended the Serbian Government for conducting a successful immunisation of the population, adding that it has contributed to health protection to a great extent.

“Serbia truly deserves all praises for its immunisation process, however, this pandemic is not nearing its ends and immunisation will be a vital tool in this fight”, said Assefa.

He has announced that even more vaccines will be delivered from the Covax Facility, because, according to him, no one is safe until everyone is safe.

He has explained that this is precisely why the WHO has developed a mechanism for a fair allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, i.d. the Covax Facility, which 190 countries joined.

He has stressed that the plan is to deliver 2 billion doses of vaccines through Covax by the end of 2021.

“We hope that immunisation will help us return to a more normal way of life”, said Assefa, adding that people must follow the protection measures even when they get vaccinated.

UNICEF Serbia Representative Deyana Kostadinova has also commended the Serbian Government for a successfully conducted immunisation.

She has reiterated that 57,600 vaccine doses from the Covax Facility have arrived to Serbia tonight, adding that Unicef, as the agency in charge of the procurement, will deliver the second batch of 201,600 doses in accordance with the Covax allocation plan.

She has explained that the purpose of the Covax Facility is a fair and even allocation of vaccines across the world, while Unicef, although not part of Covax, is the world’s largest individual buyer of vaccines for routine immunisation on behalf of around 100 countries.

“Safe vaccines will contribute to the fight against the virus, because they save lives, which is a fact proven throughout the history of humankind”, said Kostadinova.

She has invited everyone to give their contribution by getting vaccinated and adhering to the measures.

Dirk Lorenz, Head of the Political Section of the EU Delegation to Serbia, has welcomed the delivery of Covax vaccines, noting that Serbia is well-advanced in the process of immunisation.

“However, the fight is far from over. The virus is still spreading, and these doses will help save lives”, said Lorenz.

He has stressed that the EU is the leading Covax donor across the globe, with EUR 2.2 billion pledged globally.

According to him, a total of 30 million vaccines across the world have so far been delivered through the facility.

Lorenz has congratulated Serbia for joining the Covax Facility, stressing that, since the beginning of the pandemic, the EU has stood shoulder to shoulder with Serbia in the fight against the virus, financing the transport of equipment and sending medical professionals to Serbia.

Source: Tanjug