From: Alice Taylor
Serbia Sends Sputnik V Vaccine to Montenegro

Montenegro is set to receive 2000 Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines from Serbia this week.

The news was announced by Montenegrin Heath Minister Jelena Borovinic Bojovic.

“The government has conducted various bilateral negotiations in the last two months to try to secure the vaccine and the first results were with our friend and neighbor Serbia.”

She added that a second delivery of the Russian vaccine was due in the following days through an agreement with Russia.

Montenegro has the highest rate of infection in the region, followed by Albania. A steep rise in the number of cases resulted in towns asking for additional lockdown measures and others for Bojovic to resign.

At the weekend, Serbia gave North Macedonia 8000 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines and said that other deliveries are being negotiated. Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev said it was a “serious act of friendship” on the part of Serbia.

Serbia is leading the way in the region with vaccination rollouts. They are using a combination of Pfizer, Sinopharm, and Sputnik V.

Last week, Serbian Minister without Portfolio Nenad Popovic said that the country may soon be producing the Russian vaccine. President Aleksander Vuvic added that they would invest as much money as needed to start domestic production of Sputnik V.

So far, Albania has only inoculated some doctors and nurses. Two batches of vaccines from Pfizer and one from AstraZeneca were given to the country by a ‘secret’ donor, and other Pfizer vaccines were delivered as a part of a deal negotiated by the Prime Minister. A further 360,000 AstraZeneca vaccines are supposed to arrive in April.

Even with these developments, roll out is slow and vaccination of the whole population- some 2.8 million, seems far away.

The Russian Embassy in Tirana previously offered Rama Sputnik V which resulted in a rebuke from the Prime Minister. Some days later, a Russian diplomat was expelled from Albania for allegedly violating anti-COVID rules. Russia responded by expelling an Albanian diplomat from Moscow.