As Wednesday is the third day of the anti-Covid vaccination process the mystery over the origin of the 970 doses of the Pfizer vaccine goes on in Albania with health authorities declaring that they don't know anything about it.
Public Health Institute head Silva Bino avoided any response to that question in a TV talk show on Tuesday night insisting that she was not aware of the name of the. country which donated the supply.
PM Edi Rama declared last Sunday that the first supply of Pfizer vaccines was donated by an EU country but he could not name it for allegedly reasons of anonymity required by the donor country. Rama maintained that the donor country provided the vaccine doses as a 'personal' favor to him, seeking in return his word not to reveal the name of the country a pledge which he is keeping as even his closest relevant health officials claim they do not 'know' anything about this issue.
However this 'mystery' has been followed by suggestions that the donor country could be Austria, Turkye or Germany. But the claims got closer to the truth by customs clearance documentation published by some local media in Albanian and English on Tuesday, which showed Germany as the country of production.
Based on such information, some local media outlets asked officially German authorities in Berlin and the German Embassy in Tirana which responded in one voice that they had no information about the vaccines that have arrived in Albania on January 11 this year.
A request was sent by Exit News for comment to the German Embassy, and below is their response for clarification:
“The embassy has no information so far regarding the vaccines sent on January 11, 2021.
Germany has supported Albania in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic in various ways. This has happened (and is still happening) through material donations and training in the medical field, helping with direct assistance to those in need and through the package of more than 10 million euros, used between other things to help small and medium-sized enterprises to reorganize in the frame of crisis, as well as additional financing of Rural Credit Guaranteed Foundation.”
The lack of transparency by the government and Public Health Institute has raised questions not only regarding these claims, but whether the transportation and storage of the Pfizer vaccine has complied with established protocols.
Countries that have started administering the vaccines have made it a point to be as open as possible in regards to their storage and/or transportation, as it concerns the public’s credibility in the face of accelerated procedures being applied to approve them for mass use.
The senior official of the opposition Democratic Party (DP), Tritan Shehu, a former health minister, has said that
Rama tries to hide the failure in the fight against the pandemic with some "vaccine crumbs" surrounded with full of "shadows"!
"When Albania needs about 5.5 million doses to conclude this process, this cannot be corrected with Monday's 970 vaccines and these as" alms "without an official delivery address. But even worse, the Prime Minister is the only case in Europe, who despite numerous insistences does not declare the origin and the certificate of origin of this vaccine, which is contrary to the laws, drug dafety, transparency in general," said Shehu.
According to him, no donor of the democratic world, an EU country as Rama says, a serious pharmaceutical company, would ever ask for this "secret" even to "beggars".
Seeing the situation as abnormal Shehu demands a public clarification and in addition he thinks that what is happening in Albania with this 'shadowy show' should also worry the EU authorities, those of the company Pfizer-BioNTech, those of the WHO and the serious German state, from where it is rumored that the vaccine supply came "by hand" with Charter, which is completely against any technical and legal rules, especially for this vaccine.
And all this enigma of the 'ghost' country of vaccines' origin has become the buzzword in Albania as the pandemic is spreading in dreadful proportions with a rising number of victims and a disastrous economic and social impact in the most impoverished country in Europe whose government officials oppose categorically (!!) to search alternative certified suppliers of the vaccine from countries like China or Russia which are providing vaccines to a large number of countries worldwide even in the Balkans like in Serbia lately.