Croats frustrated, Serbs delighted

Croatian portal Index.hr states that Serbia, along with Great Britain, has become a leader in vaccination in Europe.

Source: Tanjug, index.hr
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Tanjug/AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Tanjug/AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Referring to the data from the "Our World in Data" page, the portal adds that Croatia is at the bottom.

By Monday, 58.077 people had been vaccinated in Croatia, according to a government tweet, while in Serbia the number was almost ten times higher.

"Vaccines Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V and Sinopharm have been approved in Serbia so far, and Serbian officials believe that "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush", Index.hr writes, quoting Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government Marija Obradovic, who said that "the best vaccine is the one we have".

For the citizens of Croatia, who, as the Index states, with frustration helplessly follow the development of events in the environment, the question arises why they ended up at the back of the EU if it was agreed that the vaccines will be distributed fairly.

Epidemiologist Bernard Kaih says that the only logical explanation can be sought in the type of vaccine that a country has opted for.

"We have mostly used all the vaccine we received, however, they are simply coming to us slowly," Kaih told the Index.

The Zagreb portal also states that some Serbian media speculate that China's decision to send a million doses of the vaccine to Serbia could be of a geopolitical nature.

"With this move, China could prove to Serbia, but also to some other countries in Europe and the world, as a more capable and reliable trading partner," the Index writes. The text adds that some analysts point out that China has interests and engagement in several infrastructure projects of regional importance in Southeast Europe, including Croatia.

According to the Index, the media also claim "that more and more young Serbs are learning Mandarin, while at the same time weakening the belief that Serbia will become a member of the EU in the foreseeable future."

Serbian scientific journalist and editor of the "Science through Stories" portal, Slobodan Bubnjevic, who follows the topics related to the pandemic, says that everyone in Serbia is delighted and surprised by the speed of vaccination.

"The reason for that leading role in the speed of vaccination is primarily due to the fact that vaccination in other European countries is slower than anyone could have expected," he told Index.hr. Bubnjevic singled out four reasons that he considers the key secret of Serbia's success, writes Index.

He referred to the mathematics as the first factor, that is, the supply-demand ratio that benefits smaller, independent players. As another key reason for this success, he cites political flexibility, which is the result of Serbia's position as a country that has not essentially belonged to any political bloc in the international arena for many years.

The third factor, he says, is that the organization in Serbia in this case is excellent and everything is done on the basis of one software that is good and allows people to submit application relatively easily.

As the fourth, but not the least important reason, he states a very good response to vaccination.

"It turned out that people made a rational decision after all, and I believe that it will be the same in other countries," said Bubnjevic, emphasizing that he is glad that rationality managed to overcome pseudo-scientific thinking. He added that the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Serbia (ALIMS) approved the vaccines after thoroughly researching all available data.

"Although people in the Balkans are generally skeptical of domestic institutions, there is great trust in domestic regulators in Serbia - the public often cites the fact that ALIMS is one of the 30 strictest agencies in the world. I am deeply convinced that they wouldn't have jeopardized that rating", Bubnjevic concluded for Index.hr.

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