Feature: Thousands of BiH nationals travel to Serbia for vaccination

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SARAJEVO, March 28 (Xinhua) — Thousands of Bosnian and Herzegovina (BiH) nationals traveled to neighboring Serbia to get vaccinated against COVID-19 during the weekend, as the mass vaccination has not yet started in BiH.

The government of the Republic of Serbia allowed foreign citizens to register and receive vaccines and the online registration form has been available since mid-January.

The vaccination was advertized as free of charge, so it caught the eyes of many Bosnian citizens.

Among them is Nermin Jazic, a 42-year old car mechanic from Sarajevo, who travelled to Belgrade with his wife and a daughter for a scheduled vaccination appointment on Saturday.

“We applied online two days prior to the trip. The whole process was well organized and we waited no longer than an hour before we were vaccinated at the Belgrade Fair,” Jazic said.

He said that none of his family members experienced any side effects.

His neighbor Samir Colakovic, a 53-year old accountant, also went to Belgrade for a jab. He traveled on Saturday morning with his wife and two adult sons without registering for an appointment.

“We had to wait one and a half hours at the border to enter Serbia, and then an additional four and a half hours in line at the vaccination facility at the Belgrade Fair,” he told Xinhua.

Sulejman Hasanbegovic, a 42-year old IT engineer, also got vaccinated in Belgrade. He traveled to Serbia twice with his wife as well as his father and father-in-law respectively.

The second trip was without any appointments, and they have to wait for about six hours, yet he expressed no regret.

All of them said that more than 500 people were waiting in lines in front of the Belgrade Fair to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The vaccination sites were open from 8:00 a.m. local time to 6:30 p.m. local time and were divided into three lines.

One was for those with an appointment and one for those who had not scheduled in advance, as the third line was reserved for Bosnian nationals who applied through the Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH (FTC).

More than 4,000 entrepreneurs and their employees from BiH applied to travel to Serbia on Saturday and Sunday to receive vaccines, said the FTC on Saturday.

All employees of the Constitutional Court of BiH have traveled to Serbia to get vaccinated, according to a press release of the Constitutional Court of BiH on March 16, 2021.

In September 2020, BiH has purchased more than 1.2 million vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility, an international initiative co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to ensure equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The country has also purchased 892,000 doses from the European Union (EU). To date, only 49,800 doses have arrived in BiH through COVAX. Enditem

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