Tuesday October 26th, 2021 1:21AM

Albania starts mass COVID vaccinations before tourist season

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania started a mass inoculation campaign Sunday ahead of the summer tourism season after acquiring 192,000 doses of Chinese coronavirus vaccine Sinovac earlier this week.

Hundreds of people age 70 and above gathered at Tirana’s main Skanderbeg Square to get a jab in two big tents.

Liri Bizhiti, 76, one of those waiting in line, was happy to receive the vaccine after a year of isolation, and on the same day as her husband.

“Thank God it came,” she told The Associated Press while accompanied by her daughter. “We are so happy.”

Vaccination has proceeded slowly in the Balkan country since mid-January before the arrival of the Sinovac vaccine, with Albania receiving less than 100,000 Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sputnik V doses. The country has inoculated 65,000 medical personnel, people age 80 and over, and schoolteachers so far.

Albania, which has a population of 2.8 million, has signed contracts for a total of about 2.5 million vaccine doses from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V and Sinovac. The government is continuing to work on securing new vaccine contracts so the entire population can be fully vaccinated by early 2022.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Edi Rama went to Turkey and brought back the 192,000 Sinovac doses. The remainder of the 500,000 Sinovac doses Albania is due to receive will come in two months.

Rama also said Sinovac would build a factory in Albania to produce different vaccines.

Albania aims to give at least 10,000 shots a day and to complete 500,000 jabs by June, Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu said.

“This process will not stop and our ambitious plan of vaccination aims that in 14 months we complete it (for the entire population) and achieve immunization,” the minister said.

The government aims to make the country ready to welcome tourists this summer. In the years before the virus outbreak, tourism became a significant industry in the country’s economy.

“I believe that this tourist season will be more relaxed as a result of the attacks against the chain of infections,” Rama told journalists after touring the vaccination center at the square.

Foreign tourists coming to Albania won't be required to show proof that they've been inoculated with a coronavirus vaccine.

Albania has registered more than 123,000 coronavirus cases and 2,204 confirmed deaths as of Saturday, according to health authorities.


Follow Llazar Semini at

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2021
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
UK eases lockdown but nervously eyes European virus surge
Britain is taking another small step out of lockdown as it looks nervously at a new virus surge inundating its European neighbors
6:59AM ( 1 minute ago )
Albania starts mass COVID vaccinations before tourist season
Albania has started a virus mass vaccination campaign trying to make slabs to half a million people opening the way to a more relaxed incoming summer tourism season
6:52AM ( 8 minutes ago )
2 tugboats speed to Egypt's Suez Canal as shippers avoid it
Two additional tugboats are speeding to Egypt’s Suez Canal to aid efforts to free a skyscraper-sized container ship wedged for days across the crucial waterway
6:23AM ( 37 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Vaccines haven't cured loneliness in New York nursing homes
High rates of COVID-19 throughout New York have left the majority of its nursing homes closed for most indoor visits despite relaxed guidance meant to help open them up for visitors
11:50PM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: Navajo Nation extends "safer at home" order
The Navajo Nation has extended and loosened a health order intended to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
7:43PM ( 11 hours ago )
5,000 attend rock concert in Barcelona after COVID-19 screen
Five thousand music lovers attended a rock concert in Barcelona after passing a same-day COVID-19 screening
5:19PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Health
Suicide bomber targets Mass in Indonesia, several hurt
Indonesian police say a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a packed Roman Catholic cathedral on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island during a Palm Sunday Mass, wounding at least nine people
1:29AM ( 5 hours ago )
Myanmar forces kill scores in deadliest day since coup
As Myanmar’s military celebrates the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade in the country’s capital, soldiers and police elsewhere killed scores of people while suppressing protests in the deadliest bloodletting since last month’s coup
9:15PM ( 9 hours ago )
No timeline given for extracting wedged ship from Suez Canal
A giant container ship remains stuck sideways in Egypt’s Suez Canal for a fifth day
7:43PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP World News
China sanctions US, Canadian officials over Xinjiang
China has announced new sanctions against U.S. and Canadian officials in a growing political and economic feud over its policies in the traditionally Muslim region of Xinjiang
11:38PM ( 7 hours ago )
Marijuana takes center stage in New Mexico special session
New Mexico lawmakers are embarking on an unusual legislative session that focuses on the legalization of recreational marijuana
8:38PM ( 10 hours ago )
NCAA Board of Governors chair expresses confidence in Emmert
The chairman of the NCAA’s Board of Governors has given President Mark Emmert a vote of confidence
6:24PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Business
2 tugboats speed to Egypt's Suez Canal as shippers avoid it
Two additional tugboats are speeding to Egypt’s Suez Canal to aid efforts to free a skyscraper-sized container ship wedged for days across the crucial waterway
6:23AM ( 37 minutes ago )
Suicide bomb hits Palm Sunday Mass in Indonesia, 14 wounded
Two attackers have blown themselves up outside a packed Roman Catholic cathedral during a Palm Sunday Mass on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, wounding at least 14 people
6:19AM ( 41 minutes ago )
The Latest: No crowds at Holy Week ceremonies amid pandemic
Pope Francis is celebrating solemn Holy Week ceremonies for a second consecutive year without the usual throngs of pilgrims and tourists, kept away by pandemic safety concerns and travel restrictions
6:11AM ( 49 minutes ago )
Myanmar protests continue a day after more than 100 killed
Protesters against last month’s military seizure of power in Myanmar have returned to the streets to press their demands for a return to democracy, just a day after security forces shot dead more than 100 of their countrymen in the bloodiest day since last month’s military coup
5:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
Longest-serving bookseller among 25,000 Czech virus victims
A year after the Czech Republic recorded its first death from the coronavirus, the central European nation paused this week to remember all the citizens who lost their lives in the pandemic
4:39AM ( 2 hours ago )