Serbia to offer COVID-19 booster shots
Serbia will offer a third "booster" COVID-19 shot to its population from Tuesday, as the country battles an uptick in cases, largely among unvaccinated citizens.
The Balkan nation had a strong initial vaccine rollout, but rates dropped off after around 40 percent of the population was vaccinated, with many citing vaccine hesitancy.
Daily virus cases are on the rise in Serbia, which epidemiologists have blamed in part on the highly-infectious Delta variant, largely striking the unvaccinated.
"After more than six months of mass vaccination in Serbia, the vast majority of hospitalised patients are unvaccinated citizens," the government said in a statement Monday.
That should "encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so", it added.
Booster shots will be recommended for vulnerable groups, including immunodeficient and elderly citizens, healthcare workers and frequent travellers.
But the government said anyone who received a second jab more than six months ago will be eligible to receive a third shot.
Citizens can choose which vaccine they would like to receive for their third shot, regardless of which jab they initially got.
Thanks to early deals with a range of pharmaceutical companies, Serbia acquired millions of vaccine doses from Russia, China and Western firms, though the majority were Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccines.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country of seven million has registered more than 7,100 deaths and over 732,000 coronavirus cases.
© 2021 AFP