On the Occasion of Vaccination of Jelena Milic with Sputnik V Vaccine

Dear citizens of Serbia, 

Today I received the first dose of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac). I extend my sincere congratulations to all the competent authorities of the Republic of Serbia (RS) on the well-organized vaccination process, the e-Government portal for their efficient scheduling of vaccination appointments and registration for revaccination calls, and the kind medical workers and teams that perform other important tasks in this process. It is now, during the organization of the vaccination, that we have the opportunity to see how important and successfully implemented is our country’s strategic decision to start the digitalization process a few years ago was.

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Of course, I express my sincere gratitude and admiration to all the medical and other staff that have been fighting relentlessly since the beginning of the pandemic. Although vaccination is progressing well, it is because of them that I appeal that we all continue to adhere to all prescribed epidemiological measures recommended by the Crisis Response Team, because the battle is not over and it would be a pity to jeopardize all the efforts made so far, just because a little more patience and responsibly  is required.

I opted for the Sputnik vaccine for several reasons. Reputable global magazines have reported that Sputnik's vaccine has all the qualities as other available vaccines, but also advantages that others do not have. Great gratitude should be extended to Russian scientists. I sincerely hope that the production of the Sputnik V vaccine will soon begin in Serbia as well.

However, the key motive for choosing the Sputnik V vaccine is to express confidence in the relevant Serbian institutions, and above all the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency, which approved its use, as well as the use of other available vaccines against Covid-19 virus, and to encourage and invite our citizens to vaccinate themselves. The agency also approved MMR vaccine that was used against the measles epidemic a couple of years ago[1].

[1] Dr Danica Grujicic, currently Head of the Oncological Clinic of the Serbian Clinical Center, and professor Serbia claimed several years ago that MMR vaccines in usage in Serbia at the time might be compromised, even poisoned, due to Germany’s pressure on Serbia to recognize Kosovo. The same Agency for Medicine and Medical Agency approved this vaccine!  Her co-panelist on the same public debate event journalist Mirjana Bobic claimed that they might be compromised by small dosages of lead in order to be lethal. Dr Grujicic at this same event claimed that the WHO is just a front shop-tool of the US defense industry. Dr Grujicic is “a patient zero” of the organized and by the state well supported disinfo campaign about non-existing epidemic of cancer in Serbia, allegedly due to NATO usage of DU during the bombing. She was decorated by president Vucic this fall. Ms. Bobic since recently has her TV show on PRVA TV with national frequency. No other local or regional NGO or portals following  disinfo ever paid proper attention to their continuous work and the fact that they have a wide platform to spread this disinfo. We remind you that 20 people died in Serbia due to the epidemic of measles a several years ago. Bobic was among investigated  public figures, later charged by parents of some kids but not to much avail. We think that Ms Grujicic holds bigger responsibility as she is a medical person.  She has until very recently giving full fledge support for a former member of the Medical Task Force reckless and dangerous  Dr Branimir Nestorovic, who has been spreading conspiracy theories and de facto discouraging citizens to respects safety regulations and to register for vaccination. He  has finally been removed from the CRT  but is still all over the media space.  Link to the mentioned debate held at the Faculty of the Political Sciences of the Belgrade University is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0dxd9wO1Jg

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CEAS emphasizes that it is dangerous to unjustifiably discredit relevant local and international public health agencies and bodies such as our national Agency or the World Health Organization (WHO) for the sake of personal interests, by concealing data[2] or spreading conspiracy theories that they are under someone's particular influence or pressure.[3] Such irresponsible actions can have unforeseeable consequences.

[2] It refers to China and Serbia

[3] Dr Grujicic claiming that the WHO is just an arm of the US Defense Industry.

The state of Serbia, its leadership and the citizens of Serbia showed exceptional organization, self-organization and great humanity a couple of years ago, when we were strongly affected by the migrant and refugee crisis.

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The same is true for the Covid-19 pandemic. What would have happened this fall with the large number of patients in the newly built Covid hospitals and with our public health system if the state leadership had not immediately joined the fierce global struggle to procure ventilators and other equipment! Let's not forget the pressures and criticisms addressed to them from the EU and other centers at the time, due to the procurement and delivery of that equipment from China, thanks to the good relations between our countries. 

First of all, that was a decision made to protect our health care system and as many Serbian citizens as quickly and as effectively as possible, at a time when there was no other choice.

For the same reasons and thanks to the uncompromising actions of our leadership, while taking on considerable risks that we are probably not even aware of, the citizens of Serbia are now in a position to be extensively vaccinated with different types of vaccines. The state of Serbia is once again showing humanity by being ready to help other countries in the region, which didn’t manage so well, with vaccines.

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Due to all the above, our leadership deserves our trust and unreserved support to assess the compromise solution regarding the new status of Kosovo, which will enable us to further strengthen the economy, democracy, rule of law and ensure the continuation of EU integration. 

This support should be above ideological and political differences, aimed at strengthening our common state of Serbia so that in the future it can readily and humanely cope with new challenges and threats, having credible partners in different places, who can help our country, and in turn it can help them. Let us not forget that challenges and threats are most often of a regional and global, rather than local character.

It is so good to listen to and watch how Serbia, and all of us, is being talked about continuously in a positive tone these days, all around the world. Bravo Serbia!

Belgrade, 4 February 2021


CEAS team