Hungary is sending 200,000 doses of Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Montenegro each, with the goal of speeding up the country’s inoculation campaign and contributing to the restart of its economy, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Monday in Sarajevo, where he delivered the shipment.
The past “difficult” year was marked everywhere by the pandemic protection efforts, with the protection of people’s life and health, and vaccines as a tool to that goal seen as priorities, Szijjártó said. The Hungarian government has done everything in its power to procure as many vaccines as possible and managed to restart the country’s economy swiftly, thanks to its unique inoculation campaign, he said.
The Hungarian shipment is the largest sent yet to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Szijjártó noted.
“Hungary and the Western Balkans mutually depend on each other in economic and security issues, and also in stemming migration … This is one of the reasons we are happy to aid your pandemic protection,” Szijjártó said. “We hope that a speedy inoculation campaign will contribute to a faster relaunch of the economy and boost stability, so you can curb waves of illegal migration,” he added.
Zoran Tegeltija, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s prime minister, thanked Hungary for the shipment, and said that the vaccines, which brought the total number of doses in the country to 900,000, will be used primarily to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups. The country is expecting to receive a further 2,000,000 vaccines in the second half of the year, enough for half of the population to receive both doses, he said.
As a new wave of the pandemic is expected to hit in the autumn, the vaccination drive should proceed as fast as possible until then, Tegeltija warned.
Later on Monday, Szijjártó presented the shipment for Montenegro in Podgorica.
He said the pandemic was proof that in a crisis, national measures are always more effective than international institutions’ end mechanisms. “We need leaders and swift decisions, and comfortable international procedures will not provide that,” he said.
Featured photo via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook page