Skopje, Mar 31 (efe-epa).- North Macedonia on Wednesday began a mass vaccination rollout after a long delay as the third wave of coronavirus infections peaks.
The campaign got underway after Skopje received 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca jab through the World Health Organization’s COVAX mechanism.
From the early hours of the morning, the country’s hospitals and makeshift vaccination centers were open to people older than 77, as well as people suffering from chronic diseases, to come for the jab.
The AstraZeneca vaccine will not be administered to people younger than 60, health minister Venko Filipche said, adding that authorities were waiting for further clarification on potential health risks following reports linking blood clots to the inoculation.
The first case of thrombosis in a 28-year-old woman who had been given the jab in Serbia was confirmed on Wednesday.
The European Medicines Agency has urged governments not to suspend the rollout of the AstraZeneca jab, saying the benefits outweighed the risks.
“They gave me the injection. All good for now. Hope to see many of us doing this,” Mirjana Nikolovska, 78, told Efe as she left a local health center in Skopje’s Karpoš Municipality.
To keep the campaign rolling, the government signed a deal for 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, but due to a delivery delay, it also decided to seal agreements to purchase 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm’s and 100,000 of Sputnik V.
Since the pandemic broke out a year ago, North Macedonia has confirmed 130,000 coronavirus cases and over 3,700 deaths.
Around 31% of Skopje’s population has developed coronavirus antibodies, a study by the capital’s Skopje Immunology Center revealed.