North Macedonia on Sunday received a shipment of 500,000 doses of Chinese Sinovac vaccines that will allow authorities to continue mass immunization in the country, which has slowed over the past two weeks because of vaccine shortages.
The vaccine shipments arrived at the country's main airport on two planes.
North Macedonia received another shipment of more than 100,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines through the COVAX system on Saturday.
A coronavirus epidemic hit 20,000 years ago, new study finds
The small Balkan country had struggled earlier with vaccine shortages, and mass immunization had begun in early May after North Macedonia received a shipment of 200,000 Sinopharm vaccines.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Nearly 25% of the country's 2.1 million people have been vaccinated with at least one dose so far.
The COVID-19 epidemic in North Macedonia has drastically slowed down this month and authorities have decided to ease almost all restrictions by removing a curfew, and allowing bars and restaurants to organize weddings and other celebrations with 50% of normal capacity. Protective masks are mandatory only indoors.
Health authorities in North Macedonia recorded only four cases of new infections on Sunday. So far, there have been more than 155,600 confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 5,500 deaths since the start of the pandemic
As a gesture of gratitude for several vaccine donations and free vaccination for North Macedonian nationals in neighboring Serbia, authorities have decided to waive highway tolls for Serbian tourists traveling on vacation to Greece until August 15.