Bosnia and Herzegovina reached out to Germany on Tuesday for help in speeding up the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX vaccine cooperative and expressed frustration with the World Health Organization-administered program.
At a joint news conference in Berlin with his German counterpart, Heiko Mass, Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic said Bosnia had paid into the global vaccine-sharing COVAX plan but had not yet seen a delivery of vaccines under the program.
“Our citizens are, rightly so, unhappy, and that is why I asked Minister Maas today to help us mediate with the European Commission to solve this problem,” Turkovic said.
Maas said COVAX is scheduled to deliver vaccines to 140 countries by the end of May, among them Bosnia, which is scheduled to receive 130,000 doses.
Maas said he could understand that the timeline for COVAX deliveries was seen as not quick enough for nations that are anxiously waiting for them. He also said there are countries that are offering vaccines to nations "in return for good political conduct," but he did not name specific countries.
Ethnically divided Bosnia launched partial inoculations last month after the autonomous Serb Republic received its first batch of 5,000 Russian Sputnik V vaccine and health workers in neighboring Serbia were invited to be inoculated.
Last week, Serbia also donated 10,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Bosnia's other region, the federation dominated by Bosniaks and Croats.
The Bosniak-Croat Federation is so far relying on getting its share of 2.1 million shots ordered by the state through COVAX and from the European Union.
Meanwhile, Bosnia reported a spike in coronavirus fatalities on Tuesday with another 48 deaths, raising the total to more than 5,000 coronavirus deaths in the country of 3.5 million.