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Serbia was one of the first European countries to receive a China-made COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday when a million doses of a sting made by Sinopharm arrived at Belgrade Airport.

President Aleksandar Vucic posted a picture of himself on Instagram, which is next to the plane with the vaccine.

“We are proud of our friendship with China,” he was quoted as saying by the Beta News Agency, telling reporters he hoped to be vaccinated with the Sinopharm vaccine in six or seven days.

After Pfizer-BioNTech and Russia’s Sputnik V, Sinopharm’s is the third coronavirus vaccine used by the Balkan nation.

Once the Chinese vaccine has been finally approved by the Serbian Medicines Agency, vaccination could start on Sunday or Monday, health official Zoran Gojkovic previously said.

The EU candidate country, which also has close economic and political ties with Moscow and Beijing, began vaccinating with Pfizer BioNTech bursts on December 24 and later imported Russian Sputnik-V vaccines.

According to Sinopharm, the vaccine is 79 percent effective against the novel coronavirus, compared to a rate of 95 percent and 94 percent for the competition from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, respectively.

Another Chinese-made puff, Sinovac’s CoronaVac, was launched in Turkey Thursday after tests there showed it was 91.25 percent effective.

However, more robust studies in Brazil showed an effectiveness rate of around 50 percent.

So far in Serbia, a country with seven million inhabitants, around 20,500 people – residents of retirement homes and employees of the health sector – have been vaccinated, the national vaccination team announced on Friday.

Serbia has registered almost 370,000 infections and more than 3,700 deaths from the novel coronavirus.

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© 2021 AFP

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