European Union is sending 651,000 Pfizer/BioNTech doses for the Western Balkans, of which Bosnia and Herzegovina will receive the largest portion, 214,000 doses, the EU officials confirmed on Tuesday.
The first delivery to all partners in the region is expected in May with regular tranches to continue until August. The doses are intended for the immunisation of health workers and vulnerable groups.
“Despite the current global shortage, the EU will deliver life-saving vaccines for the Western Balkans. We have provided support from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic: First, with emergency medical equipment like masks, ventilators, intensive care units and ambulance vehicles; second, by strengthening the resilience,” said European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, according to a European Commission press release.
“We care about the Western Balkans whose future is in the European Union,” he added.
The vaccine delivery will be carried out with the support of Austria through the legal arrangement with the producers and the Western Balkans partners. The doses are funded from the 70 million euro package adopted by the Commission in December 2020 to help cover the cost of vaccines, secured under the EU’s advance purchase agreements for the Western Balkan partners.
“It is crucial to speed up the vaccination campaign everywhere,” said European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, adding that the EU stands by its partners in the region “who have been looking to us for support.
“We are in this together,” she wrote on her Twitter addressing the people of Western Balkans in local languages.
Uz naše smo partnere na Zapadnom Balkanu, kao što sam istakla u razgovoru sa predsjedavajućim @Vijeceministara 🇧🇦
Zajedno smo u ovome.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) April 20, 2021
According to the plan, Bosnia will receive 214,000 doses – the largest portion among all Western Balkan countries, followed by Albania which will receive 145,000 doses and North Macedonia with 119,000 doses. Kosovo will get 95,000 doses, Montenegro 42,000 and Serbia 36,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.