Another vaccine fail – Serbian donation called off

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Macedonia was supposed to receive its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine today – a donation of 8,000 Pfizer vaccines from Serbia. A hand-over ceremony was planned at the Tabanovce border crossing at 14h, were Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was supposed to meet with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. It would’ve announced the start of even token vaccinations of healthcare workers and at risk-elderly citizens, after the Zaev regime failed to buy the vaccines, get in through Covax, announced then canceled a Bulgarian donation, and ignored offers from China and Russia only to finally cave and order 200,000 Chinese vaccines.

But yesterday evening the Government announced that the delivery of the Serbian donation is being canceled. The reason – lack of paperwork.

We inform you that due to the need to adjust technical documentation for the delivery of the vaccines, the event planned for February 11th at the Tabanovce border crossing is postponed for a date to be determined, the Government said in a press release.

Once the Serbian donation was first announced, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic did warn that Macedonia needs to accept a number of legal clauses. It was reported that Macedonian Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce insisted that a Macedonian company acts as an importer of the vaccine, while the Serbian branch of Pfizer asked that they are approved as the direct exporter.

At the moment it is not clear what is the reason for this latest delay, but it exposed Zaev and Filipce to criticism of acting as amateurs in a matter of critical importance. Social media exploded yesterday evening when the news of the delay was announced, especially as it came at a time when the Healthcare Ministry revealed a website and is urging citizens to register to take the vaccine. “Register for what?”, people were asking on social media.