Austria says it plans to send a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Western Balkans in addition to the doses it is funneling toward the region on behalf of the European Union.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz made the announcement in Vienna on June 18 following a summit with his counterparts from countries of the former Yugoslavia that are not EU member states -- Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. Albania’s infrastructure minister and EU special envoy Miroslav Lajcak also attended. In April, Austria already committed to send 651,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to the six Balkan countries by August on behalf of the EU.
Speaking at a news conference after the Vienna summit, Kurz said: "Beyond that, we also want to make a contribution bilaterally as the Republic of Austria and we have decided as a government that we will make a million vaccine doses available to the states of the Western Balkans."
The doses are to be delivered between August and the end of the year, the chancellor added, without saying which countries would receive them or how they would be distributed among them. In the beginning, it will mainly be doses from the manufacturer AstraZeneca, Kurz said.