Chinese vaccines get presidential welcome in Serbia
Published: Jan 16, 2021 08:10 PM

Photo: CCTV

The first batch of one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by China's leading pharmaceutical company Sinopharm arrived in Serbia on Saturday, receiving a personal welcome at the airport from the country's president. 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, local officials, and the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo received the consignment at Nikola Tesla International Airport in Belgrade, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

The batch was said to be the first large-scale arrival of all the eight million vaccines Serbia purchased from three different producers.

Serbia has also purchased Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine as well as a jab jointly developed by the US' Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech. The country plans to vaccinate 80 percent of its population of seven million, according to Xinhua.

"I come to the airport not only to receive the high-quality vaccines, but to demonstrate the friendship between China and Serbia," Vucic was quoted as saying by the People's Daily. 

In an apparent show of confidence in the Chinese vaccines, the Serbian president said that he would most likely get vaccinated with Chinese vaccines.

Pictures of Vucic waiting for the vaccines in the cold wind went viral on Chinese social media platforms, touching millions of Chinese netizens.

"He is a really good president who sincerely serves the Serbian people," commented a user on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

"Long live the China-Serbia friendship," commented another.

Vucic is not the only foreign president or official who is confident in China's vaccines.

At least 17 countries have purchased COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese developers including Sinovac, Sinopharm and Cansino, according to the Global Times' calculations, with more vowing to purchase Chinese vaccines or start mass inoculations using them despite some Western media questioning their efficacy and safety.

Turkey on Thursday decided to start mass inoculations using Chinese producer Sinovac's inactivated COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac after Turkey's local drug and medical equipment body approved CoronaVac for emergency use on Wednesday, local media reported. 

Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca received the first dose of the CoronaVac vaccine live on television on Wednesday, becoming the first person in Turkey to receive the vaccine. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had his first dose of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac on Thursday. More than 250,000 Turkish people have been vaccinated so far. 

In a BBC report that many in China believe to be aimed at smearing Chinese vaccines on Friday, when the reporter asked a Turkish doctor whether he was worried about the vaccine's efficacy, the answer was a unequivocal "no." The local doctor also noted that clinical trials on the vaccine in Turkey showed more than 90 percent efficacy. 

Global Times