The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines procured through the COVAX Facility arrive in Serbia
Vaccines are procured and delivered by UNICEF through the COVAX Facility, with purpose to ensure fair, even and equal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for all countries around the world.
Belgrade, 3 April 2021 – On Friday night Serbia received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines procured through the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, WHO, and UNICEF as the procurement agent.
The first batch of 57,600 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio in South Korea arrived at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport at 19:00 CET. Vaccines are procured and delivered by UNICEF through the COVAX Facility, with purpose to ensure fair, even and equal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for all countries around the world.
The arrival of the first shipment of the COVAX procured COVID-19 vaccines was received at the airport by Jadranka Joksimovic, the Minister for European Integration, Deyana Kostadinova, UNICEF Representative in Serbia, Abebayehu Assefa Mengistu, WHO Deputy Representative in Serbia, and Dirk Lorenz, Head of the Political Section of the EU Delegation in Serbia.
Abebayehu Assefa Mengistu, WHO Deputy Representative in Serbia, said that through the COVAX initiative, the organization has established a fair system of vaccine distribution, with the support of over 190 countries. “What Serbia has done in terms of vaccination deserves all praise. This pandemic will last a long time and vaccines will be a key tool in the fight against COVID-19,” Mr. Assefa pointed out.
UNICEF Representative in Serbia, Deyana Kostadinova, stated that UNICEF was chosen to procure vaccines through the COVAX Facility because it is the largest single supplier of vaccines in the world with a lot of experience.
“Tonight, the first batch of the vaccines – 57,600 doses – secured through COVAX has arrived in Serbia. And the rest of the ordered quantity and approved quantity will be shipped in accordance with the COVAX distribution plan. Safe and effective vaccines will contribute to the fight against corona virus because vaccines help save lives – the fact that has been proved throughout history of mankind”, said Ms. Kostadinova.
Dirk Lorenz from the EU Delegation to Serbia said that Serbia is already well advanced in the vaccination process, but the fight is not over. He added that “the COVID-19 virus is still spreading, and these doses will help to save lives.” He stressed that the COVAX Facility has already delivered over 30 million vaccines all over the world.
Minister for European Integration, Jadranka Joksimovic, said that Serbian vaccination process, which is far ahead of many other countries in Europe and the world, has shown that Serbia is a resilient society and one of solidarity as it is helping the region. “I believe that this shipment is very important, that it will set up a delivery dynamic for the other shipments of vaccines through the COVAX Facility. I thank all the partners, I also thank them for their coordinated work in this process with the Government of Serbia,” said Minister Joksimovic.
The COVAX initiative is co-led by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and UNICEF as a key delivering partner.
The goal of the COVAX initiative is to provide nations with equitable and affordable access to safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, regardless of their income level. COVAX Facility aims to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to participating countries by the end of 2021.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/serbia