Montenegro’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme Hit by Delay

Illustration: COVID-19 vaccination in Norwood in the US state of Massachusetts. Photo: EPA-EFE/CJ GUNTHER.

"We are also thinking about vaccines from China and Russia, although our primary negotiations are about vaccines from the EU," Borovinic Bojovic told a press conference.

"I cannot announce the exact date of vaccinations because we are conducting negotiations every day. I think that the vaccines should arrive in Montenegro at the end of January," she added.

Montenegro had been relying solely on COVAX, a global initiative involving governments and manufacturers aimed at ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines reach the world's less wealthy countries. Podgorica agreed in October to pay 646,000 euros for 248,800 doses, enough for 20 per cent of the country's population.

The health minister at the time, Kenan Hrapovic, said COVAX was "the most favourable option for all less developed countries and countries in transition, including Montenegro, in terms of procurement of vaccines for COVID-19, because it provides a high degree of safety and transparency".

But after the country's new government came to power, new health minister Borovinic Bojovic accused Hrapovic of delaying making a plan to procure vaccines and organise a vaccination programme.

Borovinic Bojovic said that most of the countries in the Balkans had established contacts with other vaccine producers, while Montenegro was relying only on COVAX. Some vaccinations have already started in neighbouring Croatia, Serbia and Albania.

"They had enough time to procure and receive vaccines in their countries, which was not the case in Montenegro… We had to establish connections with individual manufacturers in a short time," said Borovinic Bojovic.

On December 21, the head...

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