Serbian president receives injection of Chinese COVID-19 vaccine

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Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic receives an injection of China's Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19 in Majdanpek, Serbia, April 6, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday received an injection of coronavirus vaccine produced by China's Sinopharm in front of the media in the village of Rudna Glava in the municipality of Majdanpek.

"As you can see, I am still alive and moving, and I want to tell all people that it is great to get a vaccine, and one can't feel anything," Vucic told the media at the village's health station immediately after receiving his first jab and appealed to citizens to get vaccinated too.

"I feel great, like nothing happened," he said after the inoculation. Vucic announced that he will receive the second dose of the vaccine in three weeks, somewhere in south Serbia.

More than 50 local residents received their first jabs of the vaccine Tuesday morning and more are waiting in line.

Vucic noted that Serbia received the fourth batch of vaccines from China on Monday, with more to come based on a contract signed several weeks ago.

According to the president, Serbia also plans to produce the Chinese vaccine in the future, as well as develop scientific cooperation in that field.

"It is important for us to produce the vaccine ourselves, to produce the liquid and pack it into bottles, fill syringes and distribute to people," he said.

"Then we continue with the accelerated development of biomedicine and biotechnology that will propel our science and our economy, and in this, we have to cooperate with the Chinese side," he added.

Serbia, a country of around 7 million inhabitants, is the first European country to start mass vaccination with Sinopharm vaccines in mid-January.

Around 20 percent of the adult population have already been vaccinated with two doses, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Monday, adding that by the end of this month, at least 40 percent of the adults will finish their first doses.

Besides Chinese vaccines, Serbia has so far managed to procure 1 million more vaccines from manufacturers of other countries, namely Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sputnik V.

Since the beginning of the epidemic in March last year, Serbia has recorded 621,375 cases of coronavirus infection and 5,497 deaths, while 7,839 persons are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

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