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Serbia receives 1 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China

Serbia receives 1 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China

One million doses of China's Sinopharm-inactivated coronavirus vaccines arrived at the Belgrade airport in Serbia on Saturday, the government confirmed in a press release.

The shipment was received at Belgrade airport by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo, Serbian Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar, and the head of the Security Intelligence Agency Bratislav Gasic.

Vucic said the arrival of the vaccine is "proof of the great friendship between Serbia and China" and will help protect the lives of 500,000 people, adding that he will be vaccinated with the Sinopharm vaccine.

"As an ordinary person and president of Serbia, I am convinced of the quality of the Chinese vaccine, which will be decided by our competent agency," he said.

Vucic stated that Serbia has acquired all the vaccines that have arrived so far bilaterally through "negotiations with the Americans for Pfizer, with the Russians for Sputnik V and with the Chinese for the Sinopharm vaccine."

Vaccination would begin once the Chinese vaccine gets final approval from the Serbian Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices.

Serbia has reported nearly 370,000 COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic, while 3,708 people have died. A total of 5,409 patients are hospitalized throughout the country, of which 196 are connected to respiratory ventilators.

After peaking every day in November and December of last year, the number of new infections is declining in January.

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign started in Serbia on December 24, 2020, and so far the country has obtained around 1.4 million doses of different vaccines.

Sinopharm is the third vaccine to arrive in Serbia, after the Pfizer-BioNtech and Sputnik V vaccines.

China has provided aid to Serbia during the course of the pandemic. In addition to medical supplies, a team of Chinese medical experts spent months helping Serbian authorities coordinate the country's pandemic response, while the Chinese group BGI helped build two "Fire Eye" testing laboratories.

Ambassador Chen said that Serbia and China are fighting side by side against the coronavirus and that "China is the first country in the world to promise that its vaccine will be a global public good."

"The Sinopharm vaccine was officially registered in China on December 30 and arrived in Serbia only after 16 days. The arrival of the Chinese vaccine is part of our joint fight against the virus and I believe it will contribute to fighting the epidemic." in Serbia, "Chen said.

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