Thursday, 20 May 2021

HZJZ: One in Three Adults Vaccinated

ZAGREB, 20 May 2021 - As of today, every third adult in Croatia has been vaccinated against COVID-19, the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, 19 May, 43,890 doses of the vaccine were used, and the number of persons that have received at least one dose reached 1,109,161, which is 27% of the population or 33% of the adult population, while 341,008 persons have received both doses.

According to data from the eCijepih platform, as of 20 May, every third adult in Croatia has been vaccinated, which is a big step forward compared to early May, when on 1 May every fifth adult citizen of Croatia had been vaccinated, the HZJZ said.

First dose vaccine coverage is highest in Zagreb, 31% of the total population or 37.6% of the adult population, and second dose vaccine coverage is highest in Sisak-Moslavina County, 12% of the population or 14.4% of adults.

"These are encouraging data that give us reason for optimism when it comes to meeting the goal of vaccinating over a half of Croatia's adult population by the end of June. Vaccination is going according to plan, the epidemiological situation is better than in previous weeks and this is certainly good news, especially in the context of the upcoming tourist season," said HZJZ deputy director Ivana Pavić Šimetin.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centres up and down the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

Friday, 14 May 2021

Zagreb to be Included in Producing DNA Templates

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - The head of the Zagreb-based Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotić,  said on Friday that the European Commission would in future be authorised for the purchase and distribution of the Pfizer vaccine and that Zagreb would be one of the centres included in producing DNA templates.

That means that only mRNA vaccines will be used in the EU, not because the AstraZeneca vaccine is not of a good quality but to ensure secure production and the possibility of responding quickly to new variants of the virus given that a vaccine can be produced within 100 days, said Markotić.

In addition to a high level of antibodies that remain for about six months, it is worthwhile developing cell immunity, which need not be the case with certain vaccines, she said.

"In 2022 and 2023, Zagreb will be one of the centres that will be included in the phase of producing DNA templates, which is important for Croatia's tradition and for Zagreb regarding the production of vaccines," she underscored.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Vaccine Information For Those Who Got First Dose at the Zagreb Fair

May 5, 2021 - People in Zagreb are getting their vaccines against the novel coronavirus, and the ‘‘Dr. Andrija Štampar’’ Institute has some vaccine information for them.

The vaccination process is continuing across all regions of Croatia to combat the novel coronavirus, even after a few weeks of uncertainty marked by problems with the vaccination portal cijepi.se. One of the vaccination points in the capital is at the Zagreb Fair, and those in charge have vaccine information about both doses for those who attend this vaccination point.

According to Our World in Data, as of 4 May, 944,398 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Croatia, with 734,556 people receiving the first dose and 209,842 receiving both doses.

As reported by tportal.hr, the "Dr. Andrija Štampar" Institute wants to inform all citizens of the City of Zagreb who have been vaccinated with the first dose at the vaccination point at the Zagreb Fair that they have been referred for vaccination with the second dose. The term of vaccination with the second dose was defined in accordance with the recommendations of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

Citizens can check the exact date for their second dose of vaccination at the Fair via the e-Citizens system, by calling the toll-free number 0800 8804 or via their selected family doctor (GP).

The "Dr. Andrija Štampar" Institute has also noted that the second dose of vaccination at the vaccination point at the Zagreb Fair is being organised exclusively for people who have already received their first dose of vaccine at that point. People without an referral term will not be vaccinated there due to limited organisational capacity.

In addition, "Stampar" has asked citizens to strictly adhere to the referral deadlines in order to avoid unnecessary crowds and for the purpose of more consistent adherence to epidemiological measures and recommendations.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: "Decision to Return Child to Biological Family Was Bad"

ZAGREB, 7 April, 2021 - PM Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday, in a comment on the death of a 2.5-year-old girl caused by domestic violence, that the decision to return the child to its biological family was bad and that those who made it should bear the consequences, noting that social care did not require a separate ministry.

"I don't know why the proposal to separate social care from the 'mega-ministry' is being made," Plenković told reporters in the parliament.

He recalled that in 2013, during the term of the Zoran Milanović government, a case similar to the last one happened in Slavonski Brod, and at the time there was a separate ministry of social care.

When they lack arguments, people make banal, nonsensical statements, Plenković said, adding that Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović was capable of heading the ministry because the ministry had its services, directors, state secretaries and social welfare centres across Croatia.

"In this specific case with a fatal outcome, the assessment and decision to return the little girl to her biological family was a bad one and for that kind of professional mistake responsibility lies with those who make it," he said.

Plenković went on to say that since the case of an incident on Pag Island in 2019, when a father threw his four underage children from the first-storey balcony of his house, a lot had changed in the social care system.

"During the terms of ministers (Nada) Murganić, (Vesna) Bedeković and now Minister Aladrović, we have worked to strengthen the system of social care. We have worked to raise social workers' wages as well as standards of physical and technical security, so now welfare centres have guards," he said.

The government has increased outlays for social care and allowances and it expects the system to function better and to the benefit of children, he said.

Unfortunately, there are problems, there are dysfunctional families, horrible things are done by biological parents but they will all answer for their actions in a legal procedure, Plenković said, adding that he was appalled and extremely saddened by the latest case.

Speaking of illogical provisions in the foster care law, adopted by his government, Plenković said that every legal solution could be improved.

It is important to speed up foster care procedures and that all children who live in environments that are not appropriate and not safe find a safe place to live. We will improve the law. There is always something to improve, he said.

AstraZeneca vaccine

Plenković also talked about a decision the European Medicines Agency is expected to make on the age groups for which the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is acceptable.

He said he would meet today with Health Minister Vili Beroš and the directors of the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Croatian agency for medicinal products to discuss the information they had, and that later today Beroš would participate in a video conference of EU health ministers.

"The most important thing is that the member states' ministers of health have a consolidated position, whatever the EMA's recommendation, and that there are no different practices. Different practices undermine the reputation of a vaccine, whatever its quality, which has happened with AstraZeneca from the start, unfortunately."

Plenković said the confusion about that vaccine had resulted in some people refusing it, which was not pleasant either for the company or anyone involved in vaccination.

He also responded to criticism that he had promised that a majority of the Croatian population would be vaccinated by spring yet had now postponed this until July.

He said AstraZeneca had promised to deliver 120 million doses to the EU in the first quarter but delivered 30 million. Croatia was to have received 1.7 million doses by 31 March and vaccinated more than 800,000 people, he added.

Plenković said 600,000 doses had been delivered and that 2.6 million would be by 30 June, adding that the government was working on having other vaccines available in case of more problems with AstraZeneca.

"Had we ordered 100% from each company and paid for 25 million doses, then all questions would have been - whose money are we spending and why are we buying three or four times as many doses as we need?"

He said an unforeseen thing had happened, not with a no-name company but one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Central bank governor, fighter jets, former JANAF CEO's arrest

Asked if he had known about central bank governor Boris Vujčić's correspondence with representatives of the Knighthead fund concerning the Agrokor conglomerate, Plenković said the question should be put to Vujčić.

Speaking of the procurement of fighter jets, he said consultations were under way and that a decision would be made in time. All offers are valid and we'll take some more time to decide, he added.

Asked to comment on the new arrest of Dragan Kovačević, former CEO of the JANAF oil pipeline operator, Plenković said everything about it should be said by the USKOK anti-corruption office and the State Attorney's Office.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 26 March 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: Croatia Received Only 17% of Vaccine Doses Ordered From AstraZeneca

ZAGREB, 26 March, 2021 - Croatia has received only 17% of coronavirus vaccine doses ordered from AstraZeneca, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković told a press conference on Friday.

The European Union has ordered 120 million doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca and has received only 30 million, which is why Croatia lacks the vaccine, Plenković said.

Permanent representatives to the European Union have been tasked with arranging the distribution of 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine as soon as possible, in a spirit of solidarity, the prime minister said, reporting on the results of the EU summit held on Thursday.

About 405 million people live in countries that do not have a problem with vaccines and about 40 million in countries that have not received the amounts of vaccines ordered, so these 10 million doses would resolve the problem for the countries that are not receiving vaccines, while the others would not feel they missed something, he added.

In a joint statement on Thursday, EU leaders asked the ambassadors to the EU to resolve the problem of distribution of 10 million doses of the vaccine that BioNTech/Pfizer will deliver in the second quarter of the year instead of the second half.

"That means that those who have less will get more," Plenković said, adding that the aim was to compensate the countries that have ordered the most vaccine from AstraZeneca and less from other manufacturers.

About six or seven countries should be compensated, including Croatia, which would help achieve even vaccine coverage within the EU, the Croatian PM said.

Plenković denied claims that Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz used strong language at the meeting. Kurz was the first EU leader to draw attention to the uneven distribution of vaccines among the EU member states.

Plenković denied the speculation that the agreement would have been reached already yesterday had it not been for the Austrian chancellor's statement. "No, that was not possible, technically. Had we been physically present in Brussels - maybe, there would have been breaks and we would have explained things to one another."

"Anyway, this will be sorted. Pfizer will fill in the gap created by AstraZeneca's failure to meet its obligations," the PM said, adding that Bulgaria should get the most doses.

With the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses as compensation, Croatia hopes to vaccinate 50% of its population by 30 June, which would put it on a level with the EU.

For more about vaccinations in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Two Opposition MPs Accuse Gov't of Vaccination Delays

ZAGREB, 24 March (Hina) - Andreja Marić of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Rada Borić of the New Left party on Wednesday critcised the Croatian government as well as the European Commission over procrastination in administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Addressing the national parliament, Andreja Marić said that the Croatian government failed this test.

Until three days ago, a mere 470,000 doses of all vaccine producers were delivered to Croatia, which is only 14 doses per 100 inhabitants, Marić said.

To date, 358,000 doses have been administered, and 8.9% of citizens have received one shot so far of the two-dose vaccine and 2.2% have been inoculated with both doses. Only Bulgaria and Latvia have fared worse than Croatia in the European Union, she said.

Marić insists that delays in coronavirus vaccine deliveries are not the result of the unjust distribution inside the European Union but a consequence of Croatia's wrong decision to rely on AstraZeneca vaccines at the beginning.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Andrej Plenković (PM), Gordan Jandroković (MP) and Vili Beroš (Health Minister) Get Vaccinated with AstraZeneca

ZAGREB, 24 March, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković and Health Minister Vili Beroš were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine at Government House on Tuesday, and Beroš said that they had sent a message of confidence in medical science and the medical profession.

"Today we have sent a strong message of confidence in medical science, the medical profession, primarily because we were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. We will continue to work diligently on vaccinating Croatian citizens so that they could continue living and working with as little risk of infection as possible. Every vaccinated individual contributes to the protection of the population and is definitely a step towards our old normal, and a step closer to a successful tourist season," Beroš told reporters after the vaccination.

He added that there were still many challenges ahead and that it was important to think about future challenges such as new variants of the virus.

"I believe that with this message we have encouraged citizens to follow us on that path, to curb the epidemic and return to our normal life," Beroš said.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Jandroković Also Prepared To Be Vaccinated with AstraZeneca Vaccine

ZAGREB, 21 March 2021 - Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković is prepared to be publicly vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, the speaker's office confirmed to Hina on Sunday.

"Croatian Parliament Speaker Jandroković is also prepared to be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, together with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Health Minister Vili Beroš, as it has been about six month since he contracted coronavirus," the speaker's office said.

Jandroković will be vaccinated soon, when he consults with doctors, and depending on their assessment, when it is the optimal time for that given the period that has passed since his recovery.

The Croatian government has confirmed that PM Plenković and Health Minister Beroš will be publicly vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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