Kosovo: The first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX program arrived on Sunday

The first shipment of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Kosovo on Sunday afternoon and vaccination will begin in the coming days.

Kosovo has received 24,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX program and the authorities will initially start vaccinating health workers and the population in need.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, has said that the arrival of the first group of vaccines will save lives. “This is a small shipment, but it gives our country a lot of hope that we will be able to save lives, especially of medical staff and people in need,” Kurti told media at Pristina Airport, where he and the Minister of Health Arben Vitia were waiting for the arrival of vaccines.

Kurti said that Kosovo has lost time in receiving vaccines, but added that the time has come for action and vaccination will begin without delay. Kurti thanked the United States and the European Union for being the main donors to the GAVIC COVAX alliance.

The Minister of Health said that Kosovo will start a new phase against the pandemic through vaccination. He said he had discussed the vaccination program with the relevant ministries and would start vaccination this week.

US Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett, who was at Pristina airport, welcomed the arrival of the first vaccines. “I am happy to have been there when the first vaccines in Kosovo arrived tonight. The United States is a proud contributor to the multinational Covax initiative. “#TogetherYou can #Vaccinate,” Kosnett wrote on Twitter.

Riccardo Serri, Deputy Head of the EU Office in Kosovo, said the day marked the recent start of COVID-19 in Kosovo, while British Ambassador Nicholas Abbott said he hoped the vaccination process would be implemented soon.

Kosovo will benefit from the COVAX alliance with 100,800 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. The number of new COVID-19 cases in Kosovo has increased in recent weeks. On Sunday, 914 new cases were registered, the highest number of infections per day in 2021.

Since March 2020, when the first cases were confirmed, Kosovo has registered 87,981 COVID-19 cases and 1,840 deaths.

The Kosovo authorities have approved a three-phase vaccination program: In the first phase, the authorities will vaccinate health workers, nursing home patients, citizens over the age of 80 and those with chronic diseases. The second phase will focus on education workers, pandemic management and ages 65 to 79. In the third phase, the state will vaccinate 50% of the population.

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