"Vaccines have saved our lives in the past, as they will from now on."
Senior citizens of Sokolac rolling up their sleeves to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others, to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to be able to see their grandchildren more often
Milorad Milinković was among the first people to get the vaccine against COVID-19, in the Sokolac Sports Hall. The vaccination for persons older than 65 was organized by the Health Center "Dr Ljubomir Ćeranić" Sokolac, using AstraZeneca vaccines received through the COVAX mechanism and distributed according to the plan of the Republika Srpska Institute of Public Health.
"I came to get vaccinated to protect myself and those around me. I’ll get the vaccine to protect myself, but also because of our youth, to protect them as well, now that we have this opportunity, and I suggest to everyone to get vaccinated! ”, Milorad tells us while he waits for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine, which is the standard observation time for medical supervision for eventual allergic reactions after the vaccine is applied.
“I feel great, I didn't feel any discomfort. I could hardly wait to get vaccinated ", says Mara Abazović, while Rade, her husband, adds that he also had no dilemmas, as he fully trust in medical profession.
Unfortunately, Bosnia and Herzegovina is among the countries with the highest number of COVID-19 infections and the highest number of deaths per total population in Europe, especially among the elderly people. Dušanka Radijeljac says that she came for vaccination to protect herself:
"To date I have managed to protect myself, I believe I will continue to. I want to be sure that I can see my grandchildren more often, and I would recommend everyone to get vaccinated ", says Dušanka.
Radmila Soldar also came to the vaccination, emphasizing that she has full confidence in the profession, which says that the vaccine is safe and useful, and Mitar Budeš is of a similar attitude:
“I expect it to be better and we will be able to see grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Vaccines have saved lives in the past, so they will from now on.”
Kata Batovac says that she trust in science and believes that only the mass vaccination can get us out of the current crisis. She misses spending time with family and friends the most:
"There were some moments of sadness and some moments of happiness, we could not share last year, but I believe that we will soon live more freely and be able to see our loved ones more often," says Kata.
Dr Adrijana Stanar, the Director of the Health Center Sokolac, says that she is satisfied with the level of interest in vaccination, especially among people older than 65.
"Vaccination of 80 people over the age of 65 is planned for today, and we have more than 800 of them who expressed the interest to be immunised. There is a positive trend and growth of interest in vaccination. In the first phase, the personnel of our health institution got the vaccines, so the trust among the citizens increased now when they saw that the health workers, were the first to be vaccinated ", says Dr Stanar, emphasizing the importance of vaccination in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic:
"All available vaccines are good and safe, and immunization is one of the main methods to defeat this pandemic and start getting back to the life we lived before." According to her, the Sokolac Health Center currently has six teams, which are ready for mass immunization once they get a larger number of vaccines: "Our staff has undergone all the necessary trainings organized by the Republika Srpska Institute of Public Health, we have six teams and adequate space so we could vaccinate up to 1,000 people a day."
Bosnia and Herzegovina has so far received 49,800 doses of vaccines through the COVAX mechanism, out of a total of 1.2 million ordered. The authorities, health workers, but also the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, expect that through this mechanism, additional doses of vaccines will be delivered soon, which the state ordered as a self-financing country.
The COVAX initiative is co-led by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), alongside its key delivering partner UNICEF.