Foreigners flock to Serbia to get COVID vaccine shots

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Thousands of vaccine-seekers from countries neighbouring Serbia flocked to Belgrade on Saturday after Serbian authorities offered foreigners free coronavirus jabs if they showed up over the weekend.

Long lines of Bosnians, Montenegrins and North Macedonians — often entire families — formed in front of the main vaccination center in the Serbian capital as police kept watch.

“We don’t have vaccines. I came here to get vaccinated,” said Zivko Trajkovski, who is from North Macedonia. “We are very grateful because we can vaccinate quicker than in Macedonia.”

Zoran Dedic of Bosnia noted that his country and Serbia were part of a joint federation before Yugoslavia disintegrated in a war during the 1990s. “It does not make any difference, Bosnia or Serbia. It does not matter,” he said.

Most of Serbia’s Balkan neighbours have been struggling with shortages and have barely started mass vaccination drives, while Serbia boasts of having ample supplies and one of Europe’s highest per capita vaccination rates.

The Serbian government has donated vaccine doses to North Macedonia, Montenegro
and Bosnia.