The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) expresses its genuine concern about the delay in the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for Macedonia. The country is yet to formally secure a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine for its population of over 2.1 million people.
Macedonia is hoping to receive 840,000 vaccine doses this month under a scheme led by the World Health Organization to assist poorer countries. In addition, it is relying on handouts from other countries, such as the donation of 8,000 vaccine doses received from Serbia. Some vaccines are also expected to arrive in Macedonia later in 2021 through the European Union. Zoran Zaev’s government has asked neighbors Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia for assistance, along with Poland and Hungary.
Last year, UMD donated $50,000 through its Generation M Together from Home campaign to support the development of COVID-19 clinics, with a further $50,000 in the works for the first quarter of 2021. UMD members with medical backgrounds have offered support to Macedonian institutions. Much work needs to be done, but the Macedonian government continues to fall short of its responsibility to strategically plan to source and rollout vaccine doses to its citizens.
Stojan Nikolov, UMD Chairman, said:
“Every country has been struggling with COVID-19. What is clear is that those now seeing an upward turn, have had a comprehensive strategy in place for some months. A key component of this is ensuring a delivery and vaccination program to beat COVID-19.
“The situation in Macedonia is deeply disconcerting. With skyrocketing death rates, serious questions should be asked about how the situation in Macedonia has been allowed to lag so far behind the rest of Europe.
“As a global advocacy group, UMD has been working with partners across the world. We have seen firsthand the different responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is disappointing that Macedonia, through inept leadership and lack of strategy, is at the bottom of the list.
“Infinitely more needs to be done to save and protect lives. That begins with a transparent acknowledgment of failures to date, and a clear and prioritized plan of action going forward.”