-- The China-developed vaccines have showed reliability that "no one could have expected in difficult times and circumstances," Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at the reception of the latest batch of Chinese vaccines last week.
-- Support from China also included advice of the best Chinese experts and doctors who helped Serbia combat COVID-19 and technological equipment for Serbian hospitals, doctors, and nurses.
-- Official data shows that notwithstanding limited production capacity and enormous demand at home, China has honored its commitment by providing free vaccines to more than 80 developing countries in urgent need and exporting vaccines to 43 countries.
BELGRADE, May 31 (Xinhua) -- For Nikola Stanojevic, a musician from Belgrade, life is getting back to normal after months of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"My parents received China's Sinopharm vaccine in February, and that really made me less worried and tense," he said.
Like Stanojevic and his family, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is picking up pace in Serbia as the Balkan country continues to make headway in inoculating its people with vaccines from China.
As one of the first European countries to authorize the use of China-developed vaccines, Serbia has shot ahead of most countries on the continent in rolling out its vaccination program.
People wait to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Belgrade, Serbia on Jan. 25, 2021. (Photo by Nemanja Cabric/Xinhua)
The China-developed vaccines have showed reliability that "no one could have expected in difficult times and circumstances," Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at the reception of the latest batch of Chinese vaccines last week.
RECOVERY IN PROGRESS
Trust in Chinese vaccines has helped secure Serbia an early recovery.
Schools in Serbia already opened on April 19, and the week before saw the opening of shopping malls, with bars and restaurants also resuming business.
Earlier this month, noting that Serbia has been one of the leading countries in mass vaccination, Brnabic announced that the country plans to fully reopen by June 21.
In July, Serbia is scheduled to hold the Exit music festival, one of the most influential music events in Eastern Europe, which each year attracts artists and visitors from around the world.
Exit said Serbia's Ministry of Health will provide "a few thousand vaccine doses for festival international artists and visitors as a way to aid countries that currently have vaccine shortages."
"Exit festival, which our country is globally proud of, happening this July will be one of the important symbols of Serbia's victory over the pandemic," Brnabic was quoted as saying on Exit's web page.
The government's confidence comes from the country's rapid progress in its vaccination program and relatively abundant vaccine supply.
A man receives an injection of Chinese COVID-19 vaccine in Majdanpek, Serbia, on April 6, 2021. (Photo by Wang Wei/Xinhua)
According to recent data from the Serbian government, the country has vaccinated more than 45 percent of its adult population, a rate higher than most European countries.
While the number of those vaccinated is still not enough to reach herd immunity, the country has plenty of vaccines available at the moment, Brnabic noted.
CHINESE VACCINES INDISPENSABLE
Of all the assistance Serbia received from others in fighting the pandemic, Chinese vaccines played an indispensible role.
Last week, another batch of Chinese Sinopharm vaccines arrived at the Belgrade airport, giving another boost to the country's vaccine drive.
It was the eighth such flight to deliver vaccines, Brnabic said when receiving the latest supply, expressing her gratitude for the delivery of millions of doses "in the shortest possible time."
Workers unload a container of China's Sinopharm inactivated coronavirus vaccines at the Belgrade Airport, Serbia, Jan. 16, 2021. (Photo by Predrag Milosavljevic/Xinhua)
"Serbia was the first European country to use Chinese vaccines," visiting Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said Friday in China, adding that the most vital step in the two countries' anti-COVID cooperation was the production of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in Serbia.
Serbia's faith in Chinese vaccines is undergirded by scientific research.
According to a study published last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, two inactivated vaccines developed by China's Sinopharm have shown to be safe and effective against COVID-19 in phase-3 human trials.
The China National Biotec Group, a subsidiary of Sinopharm, said in a statement that it is the world's first published phase-3 study of inactivated COVID-19 vaccines.
In addition to vaccines, China has also offered Serbia other kinds of help.
According to the Serbian government, Serbia received 58 planes that brought equipment donated by China and Chinese companies since the start of the pandemic.
Support from China also included advice of the best Chinese experts and doctors who helped Serbia combat COVID-19 and technological equipment for Serbian hospitals, doctors, and nurses.
People play chess at Kalemegdan Park in Belgrade, Serbia on May 26, 2021. (Photo by Wang Wei/Xinhua)
"I would like to express gratitude, not only my personal gratitude, but also the gratitude of the Republic of Serbia, our president Aleksandar Vucic, and all the people of Serbia for the firm and consistent support and help from China," Selakovic said.
China has been providing assistance to many countries including Serbia since the begining of the pandemic, all in an effort to build a global community of health.
Last year, in a phone conversation with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China and Serbia have once again demonstrated their brotherly bond and sincere friendship with concrete actions to end COVID-19.
Echoing Xi's words, Brnabic said China's help illustrates the partnership, strength, seriousness and credibility of the two countries' relations. "Serbia will never forget this."
Serbia is not the only country which has received anti-COVID support from China.
Official data shows that notwithstanding limited production capacity and enormous demand at home, China has honored its commitment by providing free vaccines to more than 80 developing countries in urgent need and exporting vaccines to 43 countries.
"China has offered vaccines to different countries," Selakovic said. "The countries who accepted the offer have shown all the others that it is not an issue of geopolitics but humanity." (Video reporters: Sun Nan, Luo Fei, Wu Siyang, Shi Zhongyu; Video editor: Lin Lin)■