AURORA SHPATAJ

The goal of the Minister of Health to reach 1 million vaccinations within June was not accomplished. During the fact-checking conducted by “Faktoje”, it resulted that the government reports more injected anti-Covid doses than actual administered doses. None of the officials asked regarding this inconsistency agreed to reply, while the Ministry of Health also refused to respond to the request for information concerning the number of injected doses according to manufacturing companies.

On May 23, at “Nënë Tereza” airport, Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu, while awaiting the arrival of 60 thousand Coronavac vaccine doses at “Nënë Tereza” airport stated:

“We are determined to reach 1 million vaccinations by the end of June.”

On July 1, “Faktoje” fact-checked whether the goal set by Minister Manastirliu was accomplished, by first checking the update on the official website regarding the number of the Anti-Covid vaccine doses that have been administered since the process commencement.

“A total of 968,034 anti-Covid doses have been administered since the commencement of the vaccination. Both anti-Covid vaccine doses were received by 403,504 citizens” – is written on the announcement of July 1 on the MoH website.

On Thursday, July 1, during the speech at the Parliament where she announced the procurement of new anti-Covid vaccine doses through the Covax mechanism, Ms. Manastirliu stated the same number of injections, namely 968 034 doses.

According to such data, we concluded that the goal stated on May 23 by the Minister of Health to reach 1 million vaccinations within June has yet to be accomplished as of early July.

Through a few simple calculations, it is clear that there are approximately 32 thousand doses needed to reach 1 million. Meanwhile, based on Ministry data, the number of vaccinated citizens is:

403 504 (vaccinated with two doses/807 008 doses)

+ 161 026 (vaccinated with one dose/161 026 doses)

=564 530 vaccinated persons in total  (968 034 doses)

Therefore, the actual number of vaccinated persons to date is nearly half a million.

Additionally, during the verification of several sources regarding the number of administered and injected doses, “Faktoje” noted an inconsistency between the vaccine numbers of the official government report and those of international agencies.

Reuters and the New York Times, which update the data on the number of vaccines by country (referring to the Our World in Data database) on July 1 reported that Albania has administered 955 498 total anti-Covid vaccine doses.

Screenshot of the Reuters site, showing the number of administered vaccines.

Screenshot of the official website of the New York Times, showing the number of administered vaccines.

However, on July 1, the MoH officially stated that there have been 968 034 doses injected, 12 thousand doses more than those administered.

On the other hand, Reuters and the NYT state that several countries (including Albania) do not provide data on the number of persons vaccinated with one or both doses of the anti-Covid vaccine.

Screenshot of the official website of the New York Times, showing that several countries provide no data on the number of doses and vaccinated persons

Based on such inconsistencies, “Faktoje” requested clarification by the PHI officials, which are simultaneously members of the Experts Committee. We contacted the Director of PHI Ms. Albana Fico over WhatsApp, as well as the Head of the Department of Epidemiology at the PHI Ms. Silva Bino and Ms. Eugena Tomini. None of them replied.

Screenshot of the questions addressed through WhatsApp to Ms. Silva Bino at the PHI (the same questions were also addressed to Ms. Fico and Ms. Tomini)

Based on the regular monitoring of the process of mass vaccination of the population against Covid-19, “Faktoje” has identified several cases of a lack of transparency as regards the provision of information.

“Faktoje” had previously submitted a request for information to the Ministry of Health, inquiring on the number of vaccinated citizens by manufacturing company, but we have yet to receive a reply.

Request for information addressed to the Ministry of Health.