Фото: Ministerio de Defensa del Perú from Perú, Perú, CC BY 2.0, на Викимедија комонс

In his appearance in Kanal 5 TV’s show, Venko Filipche, the Health Minister of North Macedonia, disclosed that the advance payment for the Chinese vaccine “Sinofarm”, which North Macedonia was supposed to receive 200.000 doses of by the end of February, was withdrawn for “our safety.” But he assured that, notwithstanding, the vaccines will soon arrive in the country.

“Taking into account that the process itself took longer than what we initially planned, because a lot of additional documents were required, and that is something that happens with almost all countries… that is why some of the assets were returned. But honestly, the negotiations are in the final phase and I think the whole process will end these days and the vaccines will arrive in our country shortly,” Filipche said.

Regarding the vaccines which should be delivered through the COVAX initiative, Filipche claimed that from 20.000 to 30.000 vaccines are expected to arrive in Macedonia during the first quarter of this year, i.e. they should arrive by the end of March.

“We expect those vaccines to arrive this month. It’s AstraZeneca vaccine. In addition, we have also held talks with representatives for the Sputnik 5 vaccine. I also believe that during this week we shall have more precise information. Finally, the Pfizer representatives in Belgrade announced that the draft agreement will arrive soon with all the details. We have had an intensive communication with an exchange of numerous documents and I believe this process has been concluded. What is expected from the Pfizer vaccine is for the draft agreement from this company’s attorney office that is located in New York to arrive,” said Filipche.

That the vaccine will arrive in a matter of days was also confirmed by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, when he replied to a question during a press conference.

“The Health Ministry withdrew the advance payment for the Chines vaccines and that was done while awaiting a reply from the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry. We cannot allow the assets to be idle, so we withdrew the advance payment while waiting for a reply. We are expecting a reply from the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry and if so, the procedure can continue. It’s a matter of days until the vaccines arrive. We cannot state the exact date when they will arrive. No one in the world can say that, since there is a lack of vaccines,” Zaev said in a press conference.

With the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine that were borrowed from Serbia, so far 2.400 medical workers were inoculated. It is expected that next week 4.000 health workers will be inoculated i.e. all medical workers that are working with COVID patients would have had received the jab.

But despite all of the promises by the authorities of enough quantities of anti-COVID-19 vaccines so far North Macedonia wasn’t able to finalize any of the purchases.

Of all announcements of donations from the neighboring countries, only 8.000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived from neighboring Serbia. Bulgaria and Greece and some of the European countries still haven’t delivered the announced donations.