BELGRADE, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Serbian health authorities approved the use of Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday evening, two days after a million doses were imported from China, enabling the country to begin with the mass immunization of its population.
"The import permit and a certificate of analysis were issued for the initial 100,000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine," Pavle Zelic, an official with the Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices of Serbia, told local media.
"The agency and its employees assessed the necessary documentation and scientific evidence in a highly professional and thorough manner according to all European Union and World Health Organization standards, which confirmed the quality, efficiency, and above all the safety of the Chinese vaccine," the Tanjug news agency quoted Zelic as saying.
Sinopharm's vaccine thus fulfilled legal preconditions and became the third vaccine available to the Serbian population, after the Pfizer-BioNtech and the Sputnik V vaccines, which arrived in the country in December and were given to high-risk groups.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic also announced that the mass immunization will start from Tuesday, with teachers, policemen, soldiers and journalists as a priority.
One million doses of the Sinopharm's vaccine arrived in Serbia on Saturday and were welcomed at the Belgrade Airport by President Aleksandar Vucic, who confirmed that he will receive the vaccine himself.
In the past 24 hours, Serbia has reported 1,578 new coronavirus infections, bringing its case tally to 374,111. So far, 3,771 people died from the virus in the country, while 5,214 are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
Across the country facial masks are obligatory indoors and in public transportation. Working hours of businesses are restricted while gatherings are banned. Enditem