By Ilda.Hoxha

The Ministry of Health decided to remove the vaccination tent from “Skënderbej” square with the reasoning that the process would be relocated at health centers and the “Air Albania” stadium. According to Faktoje’s verification, while the vaccination tent in “Skënderbej” square was still being removed, the Municipality of Tirana had begun setting up the “Village of Holidays” and erecting wooden houses.

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“Starting on Thursday, November 25, the vaccination and doctor teams will provide their services at health centers and the “Air Albania” stadium, where the anti-COVID vaccination will continue everyday”- the Ministry of Health announced through a Facebook post.

Screenshot of the Ministry of Health’s Facebook post

Several days ago, we addressed a request for information to the Ministry of Health inquiring about the reasons for this decision, but we have yet to receive a reply.

Request for information addressed to the Ministry of Health, November 24

As Christmas and holiday season are approaching, we also submitted a request for information to Tirana Municipality to learn whether the “Village of Holidays” would be set up in “Skënderbej” square this year. As of the publication of this article we have yet to receive a reply from the aforementioned institution.

Request for information addressed to the Municipality, November 24

Faktoje conducted a verification in “Skënderbej” square on Wednesday, November 24, a day before the notified removal date.

During the observation, we noticed that the tent was still in place, while the person responsible for security informed us that the removal would take place on Wednesday night (November 24).

“That is what we were told. It will be removed at night. We have no further information about this matter” – he said.

What we noticed during the verification was the fact that on the last day of the tent being in the Square, people were queuing to be vaccinated.

Citizens queuing to be vaccinated in “Skënderbej” square, November 24

Many of them told Faktoje that they were queuing to receive the third anti-Covid vaccine dose.

“I am here to receive the third Pfizer dose. The vaccines available here are the Chinese one and Pfizer. We were told the tent will be removed, so we came to get vaccinated as soon as possible” – an elderly woman said.

“I did not think there would be this many people for vaccination. I suffer from a chronic disease, so I will get the third vaccination dose. I was informed that the tent would be moved and I came here today to get vaccinated” – another elderly woman waiting in line in “Skënderbej” square said.

While the tent was still there, the Christmas Tree was being placed in “Skënderbej” square and the wooden houses were being erected, as in previous years. There were numerous workers in the Square preparing the capital city center for Christmas and New Year’s.

Workers setting up the Christmas Tree in “Skënderbej” square, November 24

“Village of Holidays” being established in “Skënderbej” square, November 24

“Village of Holidays” being established in “Skënderbej” square, November 24

The deadline stated by the Ministry of Health for the removal of the vaccination tent was November 25, thus we visited the square again this past Thursday to determine what was taking place in “Skënderbej” square.

Unlike the day before, the vaccination tent was devoid of medical personnel and lines of people waiting to be vaccinated, with only a few workers removing the last remaining equipment.

Vaccination tent in “Skënderbej” square, November 25

While the tent removal was taking place, Municipality workers were setting up the “Village of Holidays” in the square. Compared to the day before, they had already placed the Christmas Tree and the wooden houses.

“Skënderbej” square view, November 25

On March 28, the vaccination tent was operational in “Skënderbej” square, and Minister Manastirliu stated at the time that there would be 10 vaccination posts set up, with an estimated 800-1000 anti-Covid vaccinations per day.