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Serbia to produce Chinese COVID-19 vaccine

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By Euronews with AFP
A health worker holds a vial of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine during the vaccination of health personnel, at a clinic in Basra, Iraq, March 3, 2021.
A health worker holds a vial of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine during the vaccination of health personnel, at a clinic in Basra, Iraq, March 3, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani
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Serbia is to become the first European country to produce the Chinese Sinopharm against COVID-19, President Aleksandar Vucic announced on Thursday.

The country is to sign the agreement to build a factory —co-financed by China and the Arab Emirates — within the next two weeks, Vucic told broadcaster RTS.

"We will start producing the vaccine from October 15," he added.

The announcement was made after a visit to the country by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan.

Serbia, an EU candidate country, maintains close diplomatic and economic relations with Moscow and Beijing, and has used orders for Chinese Sinopharm and Russian Sputnik V vaccines to vaccinate 1.5 million of its 7 million inhabitants so far.

Mr Vucic said that Serbian-produced vaccines could be delivered "even at cost" to other countries in the region.

Sinopharm has been approved for use in 20 countries, including three in Europe: Belarus, Serbia and EU member state Hungary.