COVID-19

After being a champion of vaccination, Serbia struggles to convince its inhabitants

Caroline Baudry (in Belgrade), edited by Solène Leroux
9:35 PM, January 23, 2022

REPORTAGE

Distrust of politicians, lies about its effectiveness… More than half of Serbs reject the anti-Covid vaccine. 48.2% of the population received a dose of vaccine. Around the ice rink, in the heart of Belgrade, a crowd of passers-by, most without masks and without vaccinations. “I think my immune system is enough and I don’t believe in these vaccines,” says 23-year-old Irina. “If people are more vaccinated in other countries, I don’t understand why,” she adds. The health pass, which is mandatory from 8:00 p.m. in Serbia in bars, clubs and restaurants, does not matter.

Milena can’t introduce him either. “I don’t go out to clubs like I used to, but hey, we go at night, to people’s houses…” However, a year ago, Serbs were the most vaccinated on the continent, thanks in particular to the Chinese vaccine. “Germany, France, Great Britain, they would have had these vaccines first, if it was such a big deal,” smiles Aleksander in a conspicuous orange cap. “They would not have given it to our small country of five million people,” he says.

Three vaccination centers closed

The vaccine is a political issue according to these Serbs, despite the wave of Omicron infections hitting the country. Milita, in a large black coat, vaccinated three times, has just come out of the disease. “The virus is less dangerous now. Before, I was very much against unvaccinated people. But now I think maybe they were right,” she says. On Monday, three vaccination centers in the Serbian capital lower the curtain, due to lack of candidates.

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