Anti-COVID vaccination campaign starts in Moldova

by Romanian Reporter - Tuesday, March 2, 2021 2:30 PM

Anti-COVID vaccination campaign starts in Moldova

The president of Moldova, Maia Sandu, announced that the first anti-COVID vaccine shot in the country was administered on March 2. The vaccination campaign starts two months after similar campaigns started in Romania and most of the European countries at the end of December 2020.

The vaccination was made possible after the first batch, consisting of 21.600 vaccine shots, from a total of 200.000 doses donation from Romania, was delivered on February 27. The donation was announced by the Romanian president Klaus Iohannis during his visit to Chisinau on December 29, 2020, as part of a support package for the Republic of Moldova.

In the first phase of the vaccination campaign, the medical workers from reanimation and intensive care units will be immunized, as well as employees in the COVID-19 hospitals.

According to the statistics, the number of COVID-19 related deaths in Moldova is close to 4.000, while the number of infected people is around 180.000.

EU Civil Protection Mechanism

The vaccine shots received from Romania are produced by AstraZeneca and were donated by Romania through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The overall objective of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is to strengthen cooperation between the EU Member States and 6 Participating States (Iceland, Norway, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Turkey) in the field of civil protection, with a view to improving prevention, preparedness and response to disasters.

The European Union has allocated a support package with a total value of €128 million to Moldova, to help the country fight the COVID-19 crisis. The package includes the delivery of medical equipment and supplies, support for the strengthening of the health system, and economic recovery.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Moldova has already received a range of other offers coordinated through the Mechanism:

  • 1.8 million items including  surgical masks, FFP3 masks, protective suits, and gloves offered by Romania
  • 55 ventilators and 405,000 items of surgical masks, protective gloves, and protective suits sent by the Czech Republic
  • almost 57,000 items of protective face shields and disinfectant liquid made available by Poland  
  • more than 6,000 items of examination gloves, hand disinfectant, and blankets offered by Austria. 

Additional vaccines expected through COVAX

EU has also doubled its contribution to COVAX, up to €1 billion, in order to deliver safe and efficient vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. Moldova has said it plans to receive enough free vaccines through the COVAX scheme to vaccinate 20% of its 3.5 million population.

Later, Chisinau plans to purchase vaccines through COVAX at a reduced price. It is not yet clear how the purchase will be financed, as the budget for 2021 prepared by the former government led by PM Chicu did not allocate any funds for vaccine acquisitions and the country is still in political chaos after Chicu's resignation at the end of 2020. 

No (for now) for Russian vaccine Sputnik-V

Although the former president, pro-Russian Igor Dodon, was a big advocate of the utilization of the Russian anti-COVID vaccine Sputnik-V, no vaccine shots were delivered so far and no concrete steps were taken in this direction.

The vaccination campaign coordinator declared in a press statement that the Sputnik-V will not be administered at this moment in Moldova, as it is not yet approved by the European Medical Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

She mentioned that Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines are safe and efficient. Furthermore, according to the latest news, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved for use in the United States. Therefore, Moldova's position is to use these vaccines for its citizens.

Photo: Maia Sandu / Facebook

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