Chisinau (AFP)

Supported by her daughter, Larissa, an 82-year-old Moldovan, walks with difficulty towards a trolley bus parked near her home in Chisinau.

But no tour of the neighborhood planned that day.

Instead: a dose of the Covid vaccine.

The blue vehicle decorated with drawings of doctors holding injections has been transformed into a mobile vaccination center circulating in the streets of the Moldovan capital.

Followed by an ambulance and a medical team, it should in particular make it possible to facilitate the immunization of the elderly and people with reduced mobility, in this country, which is one of the poorest in Europe.

The driver brings a chair to Larissa who sits down waiting for her injection as a blistering heat crushes Chisinau and its 650,000 inhabitants.

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"It's very difficult for us to go to the clinic. And when we learned that the trolleybus would pass right under our building, I convinced mom to get vaccinated," her daughter Anna, 42, told AFP. years.

“It's great to have such an opportunity,” she said.

The trolleybus stops every day at a new location advertised on the internet and on television.

- Sting in bathrobe -

Since its launch two months ago, hundreds of Moldovans have been immunized in the trolley, Viktor Manole, a doctor from the mobile team, told AFP.

According to him, people feel much more comfortable there than in a hospital.

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"Someone can come out of their house in a bathrobe, in the street where they live, receive their injection and come back," he explains.

"They just need to know when the trolley is down and get out, that's it."

The trolleybus offers two vaccines: Sinopharm or AstraZeneca.

Young people seek the Pfizer vaccine while older people, who have known the Soviet Union, are asking for Russian Sputnik V, according to Manole.

But at the moment, neither is available.

A country of 2.6 million people stuck between Ukraine and Romania, Moldova has recorded more than 250,000 infections and more than 6,000 deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Its vaccination program is going relatively well, with more than 800,000 people having received at least one dose and some 300,000 fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry.

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The country also received its first 500,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Monday as part of the World Health Organization's Covax program.

Attached to the Russian Empire in the 19th century, then to Romania in 1918, Moldova, renowned for its agriculture and its vineyards, was then controlled by the Soviets from 1940 to its independence in 1991.

© 2021 AFP