News & Analysis

Who’s jabbing who?

Slovenia currently leads emerging Europe in the race to vaccinate its population against Covid-19, while other countries in the region have yet to even begin the process.

Slovenia has already vaccinated two per cent of its population against Covid-19, one of the highest rates of inoculation in Europe and well ahead of the EU average of 1.22 per cent.

Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, and Poland are also administering the Covid-19 jabs at a higher rate than the EU average.

Last week, an international poll showed that people across the world are generally likely to say yes to getting a Covid-19 vaccine, but would be more distrustful of shots made in China or Russia than those developed in Germany or the United States.

Serbia turns to China

On January 16, however, Serbia become the first country in Europe to receive China’s Sinopharm vaccine after taking delivery of the first one million doses.

President Aleksandar Vučić personally received the first shipment at Belgrade airport, accompanied by the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo.

“I would like to thank President Xi Jinping and the Chinese leadership for sending us one million doses of the vaccine,” Vučić told for the media.

Serbia has so far vaccinated just 0.27 per cent of its population, using the EU-approved Pfizer, and Russian Sputnik vaccines.

Diplomatic spat

Albanian PM Edi Rama meanwhile has become embroiled in a diplomatic spat with the French embassy in Tirana over his criticism of the way the EU is distributing the vaccine to non-member states, which he has called “morally unjustifiable”.

In a letter sent to the Albanian Foreign Ministry, the embassy rejected this statement, saying that the EU is one of Albania’s largest donors.

“Last night in a TV broadcast, Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania, clearly accused the member states of the European Union of selfishness and cynicism. This embassy remembers that every year, the EU is the largest donor in Albania with more than 100 million euros in various sectors.”

The embassy claimed that the information that France has a stock of vaccines that it does not use is untrue. The ambassador added that “a friendly country should not be attacked in this way”.


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