European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed she spoke to the Western Balkan leaders this weekend and promised on this occasion EU's support of 650,000 vaccines against Covid-19 for the countries in the region. The Commission told N1 the exact delivery dates and other distribution details are still unknown but that talks with the suppliers are ongoing.
“The European Commission is working very hard to be able to deliver vaccines secured under the EU’s advanced purchase agreements to our Western Balkan partners as soon as possible, in particular to vaccinate medical workers and other vulnerable groups,” said the Commission, adding that this would complement the first deliveries through COVAX system.
“The Commission as you know adopted a package of EUR 70 million to cover the cost of early access to vaccines secured under the EU’s advanced purchase agreements in all our Western Balkan partners,” it added.
Last week Bosnia received the first two COVAX shipments containing the total of some 50,000 Covid vaccines by Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
Bosnian authorities initiated the purchase of vaccines through COVAX in July last year and signed the contract with this mechanism on September 12. For this purpose, Bosnia's two entities – the Federation and Republika Srpska, as well as Brcko District, allocated some 13 million USD, and the purchased quantity is intended for immunisation of some 20 percent of the population.
European Union's Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Johann Sattler attended the delivery ceremony at the Sarajevo International Airport, noting that this is an important day for Bosnia, the second country in the region that received the Covid vaccines through COVAX.
“There would be no COVAX without generous donations of donors, primarily the European Commission and the EU member states such as Germany, which secured over 2.2 billion euro for this purpose,” he said, adding that this shipment is a gleam of hope and crucial moment for the start of the mass immunisation process.