Serbia offers cash for jabs as it aims for herd immunity

Serbia offers cash for jabs as it aims for herd immunity
Four vaccines are available in Serbia: Pfizer-BioNTech, Astra Zeneca, SputnikV and Sinopharm.
By bne IntelliNews May 5, 2021

Serbia’s government said on May 5 it will provide a RSD3,000 (€25.5) stimulus to everyone who gets a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine in an attempt to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Serbia is among the most advanced countries in Europe in terms of the share of the population already vaccinated but wants to speed up the process in order to achieve collective immunity by the summer season. The financial incentive was offered as an appeal to people to get the jab was not sufficient. 

Everyone who gets at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by the end of May and is 16 and older is eligible for the financial support. People can apply for the sum until June 15.

The government said in a statement that the sum will be paid regardless of the vaccine that has been applied.

As of end-April, 1.97mn Serbians had got a first dose, while 1.35mn already have two doses of coronavirus vaccine.

Four vaccines are available in the country: Pfizer-BioNTech (American-German), Astra Zeneca (UK-European), SputnikV (Russian) and Sinopharm (Chinese). The country managed to secure them through bilateral deals with all four sides. Not only that, but Serbia has become a vaccination hub for the region, donating vaccines to countries such as Bosnia & Herzegovina and North Macedonia, and inviting citizens of neighbouring countries to come to Serbia to get vaccinated, as well as setting up production of Russia’s Sputnik V. 

However, as reported by bne IntelliNews, the main obstacle to the vaccination campaign is the anti-vaccine groups. As the prime minister and the president have warned, despite the availability of vaccines and easy system to sign up, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is still high because the voices of those who are sceptical about vaccines are very loud.

Serbia’s Ministry of Health reported 1,402 new cases of COVID-19 on May 5, as the latest wave of the pandemic continues to subside in the country. At present, there are 4,113 people in hospital, with 145 patients on ventilators. To date, 695,875 people in Serbia have contracted coronavirus.