Serbia Donates AstraZeneca Shots to Bosnia Due to Shortage

Serbia donated 5,000 does of the AstraZeneca vaccine to neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina, a rare show of solidarity in a region where ethnic tensions continue to snarl relations three decades after the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic personally flew the shots to the capital Sarajevo in a government jet after Bosnia expressed frustration that it had received nothing from the European Union or the multinational Covax initiative to supply poorer countries’ inoculation campaigns.

“We need each other,” Vucic said, upon being greeted by top officials representing Bosnia’s Muslim, Croat and Serb ethnic groups. “We live next to each other and we have no one closer than each other.”

While the EU’s vaccination drive has stumbled, non-member Serbia has one of the highest inoculation rates in Europe, with more than 21 doses given per 100 people.

It has imported more than 2 million vaccines in direct deals with four suppliers and agreed to share some with neighbors including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia. Serbia may donate more in the future, Vucic said.

War-ravaged Bosnia remains semi-divided into two autonomous entities, the Serb-run Republika Srpska and the so-called Federation for Muslims and Croats. Last month, Serbia shipped 2,000 Russian-made vaccines to the Serb entity. The latest delivery is the first half of 10,000 shots for the other half of the country, Vucic said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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