Key factors that led to surge in the number of vaccinated persons in Kosovo
The first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo appeared on March 13, 2020. Since then, Kosovo has gone through different moments in the face of this global pandemic, marking successes and failures which usually came from the political decisions of the executive.
The decision of the Government of Kosovo during the summer months to ease measures against COVID-19, at a time when the Delta variant had already appeared in the country, combined with the low level of vaccination and the arrival of many visitors from the diaspora, caused an enormous increase in the number of infected and dead.
At the end of August 2021, Kosovo had the lowest number of vaccinated citizens in the region, and the highest number of positive cases and deaths in relation to the total number of population.
By taking immediate measures to address the situation, Kosovo succeeded in increasing the number of vaccinated citizens, and from the last place in the region in August, it managed to come out in the first place with the most vaccinated citizens.
Key factors that led to surge in the number of vaccinated citizens in Kosovo are:
- Increase in the vaccination capacities and increase in the number of vaccine doses. As a result, of providing sufficient doses of vaccine, sufficient doses were distributed at each vaccination point accompanied by an increase in vaccination teams (including mobile teams) as recommended by D+ through the brief paper related to vaccination process in Kosovo, published on August 16, 2021;
- Campaigning on social networks and media to motivate the population for vaccination launched by the Ministry of Health;
- Urgency of citizens for vaccination after the large spread of the Delta variant and the high number of infected and fatal cases;
- Restriction of freedom of movement based on vaccination status by many European Union countries, as well as the introduction of digital certification by the EU as a prerequisite for travel without the need for quarantine;
- Call for vaccination of teachers before the start of the new school year in September, as recommended by D+ through the brief paper related to vaccination process in Kosovo, published on August 16, 2021. This has resulted in increasing the percentage of vaccinated teachers from 30% in July to 90% during the month of October;
- Change in perceptions about the vaccine, from about 50% who were almost against vaccination in October-November 2020, to about 18% in June-July 2021. This change of perception has come as a result of the pro-active approach of the Ministry of Health with pro-vaccinations campaigns, focused on the benefits of vaccination. At the same time, media contribution in the identification of fake news, reporting by public authorities about fake news and its impact on vaccination and civil society organizations working on this field by producing research and advocating enforced the message of the campaigns.
The pro-active approach of the Ministry of Health shall be ongoing. It should take preventive measures before the cases with COVID-19 get high, and continuously employ direct campaign calling for the vaccination of the population. Besides the Ministry of Health, a whole-of-Government approach has proved to be successful in the past, and that shall continue because there is a real risk of spread of new variants of this virus, such as the Omicron.
This publication is published with the financial support of the European Union. The contents of this publication is a sole responsibility of Democracy Plus (D+) and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. The EU-funded project “Contribution to finding violations in public procurement of institutions in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic” is implemented by Democracy Plus (D+).
 Written communication (email) with Faik Hoti – Spokesperson at the Ministry of Health (Pristina, 05.11.2021).