Friday, 15 October 2021

Beroš Responds to Parents Who Demonstrated in Front of His Home

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš on Thursday told parents who had demonstrated in front of his home against restrictions on visits to sick children that he understood their dissatisfaction, but that the place for dealing with such matters should be the Health Ministry.

"Neither the Health Ministry nor epidemiologists limited the duration of visits to your sick children," Beroš told a group of parents who had said on Facebook they were protesting because the duration of visits to their sick children was limited to 15 minutes.

The minister said that the national COVID-19 crisis management team and epidemiologists had decided that the parents of sick children being treated in Croatian hospitals and health facilities must meet epidemiological requirements as all other visitors, which means they need to have an EU COVID certificate as proof that they have been vaccinated, have recovered from coronavirus or have been tested for COVID-19.

The organization, time, and duration of visits to sick children, the minister said, is organized by each institution in accordance with its organizational and spatial possibilities, and they are required to inform the parents.

"I understand the dissatisfaction of parents... and I will always stand by them as a doctor, minister, and parent, but I cannot accept the way in which they are expressing their protest," the health minister said.

According to media reports, about a dozen of citizens gathered outside the health minister's home at about 7 pm, at the invitation of a religious education teacher from Križevci, Ivan Pokupac, via Facebook.

In the post, Pokupec said that every day they would visit the home address of one member of the crisis management team for 15 minutes.

Pokupec also wrote that last year parents had been allowed to stay with their children in hospital for 15 minutes, but this time with an additional condition - an EU digital COVID certificate.

He said there was no scientific, epidemiological, or moral argument for this and that the additional requirement served to force the concerned parents to get vaccinated.

For the latest news on coronavirus in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

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

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Opposition Says Croatia Lacks Clear Strategy to Fight COVID-19

ZAGREB, 14 Oct 2021 - The parliamentary Opposition on Thursday reiterated that Croatia does not have a clear strategy to fight the coronavirus pandemic, expressing dissatisfaction with the way the crisis is being managed and calling for changing it.

"The attitude to COVID-19 has to change drastically. If the current situation continues, we will all end up on sedatives," said Marijan Pavliček of the Croatian Sovereignists ahead of a debate on the government's report on the impact of epidemiological measures taken in the period from June to the end of August.

Pavliček believes that over the past year and a half Croatians have been living in a paranormal system and "are going collectively insane."

The national coronavirus crisis management team has made a number of political instead of epidemiologically justified decisions, people are bombarded with the number of fatalities and new infections on a daily basis, he said.

"Do we have an exit strategy for this crisis and is it time we changed our attitude to COVID-19?" he asked.

Davor Dretar (Homeland Movement) claims that the crisis is being managed irresponsibly and irrationally, mentioning a case of a hospital cleaner from Zabok who was dismissed from work because she did not have a COVID-19 certificate and refused to get tested.

HDZ MP: What would have happened if doctors had cited human rights when there was no vaccine?

HDZ MP Željko Reiner confirmed that many people were refusing to get vaccinated and tested free of charge citing human rights and the alleged harmfulness of the vaccine as well as face masks.

"What would society have done if tens of thousands of doctors and nurses had invoked their human rights, fear from disease and death, while there was still no vaccine, and refused to treat patients?" he asked.

He called on Health Minister Vili Beroš, a neurosurgeon, to say what he would do if his colleagues performing operations refused to wear masks, gloves, caps, in the context of claims that it was not proven that they protected patients.

"How would society and the profession react?" he said.

Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Peđa Grbin said he had a different message for Beroš.

"I believe that you want the situation to get better but what you have been doing is not contributing to it. Because of your inconsistency, the figures are as they are," he told Beroš, recalling that on Wednesday Croatia recorded, after a longer time, more than 2,000 new infections.

"That is horrible but so is the minister's statement that he and the prime minister were surprised by those figures. Why the surprise when it is clear that Croatia lacks a clear strategy to fight the pandemic and increase the vaccination rate," Grbin said, adding that 85% of Portugal's adult population were vaccinated because people were not sent confusing messages.

Marija Selak Raspudić of the Bridge party said that the government's report lacked crucial information such as how many citizens suffer from the post-COVID syndrome, what were the criteria for the procurement of vaccines, why exactly 18 million doses were procured and not more or less, etc.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Croatian Nightclubs and Bars Still Can't Open Past Midnight

October 9, 2021 - The Association of Night Clubs and Bars addressed the public with a statement in which, as they say, they ''want to warn of the work of the Croatian Headquarters, which without real and scientific arguments, persistently maintain the decision to limit Croatian nightclubs and bars until midnight''.

“However, some cafes and restaurants are turning into nightclubs despite epidemiological measures and the law on noise protection, as they work illegally, so we can't help but wonder who is crazy in this situation! We are witnessing that the media often report on illegal parties in the capital, but many nightclubs and indoor bars are closed until further notice'', they addressed.

Precisely because of the bans on nightclubs and bars, the statement said, thousands of young people are finding night entertainment in neighboring Bosnia and Serbia because there are no restrictions in their countries, reports HrTurizam.hr. Catering facilities that are 30 to 40 minutes drive away in neighboring countries offer their services after midnight, their prices are cheaper and VAT in catering is lower and there is no consumption tax. Absolutely everything is available and allowed to them, both in the clubs themselves without any restrictions on working hours, COVID certificates and tests, and on their return to Croatia.

The Association of Voices of Entrepreneurs and the Association of Nightclubs and Bars believe that the Croatian Headquarters should take these facts into account, and act like EU countries and our neighboring countries, removing the restriction on working hours of Croatian nightclubs and bars and allow work in compliance with epidemiological measures. ''This approach and bans only encourage illegal work, and young people are still not vaccinated to the extent they anticipated. In addition, constant pressure and almost no measures to help nightclubs and bars harm the business, many cannot achieve fixed costs if the company is engaged in some other business in addition to the nightclub business, although it is very clear that they are banned from working!'', they added.

''We believe that this kind of abuse of the Headquarters over Croatian nightclubs and bars must end. We hereby tell them that they prefer to worry about how to increase the number of vaccinated among vulnerable groups and allow night catering establishments to work after more than 18 months and compensation for all the time they spent in lockdown!”, reads the statement.

"Even after more than 18 months without work, the Croatian Headquarters does not want to allow nightclubs in Croatia, so under the disguise of caring for the health of people who do not want to take responsibility for their own health and get vaccinated for two years destroys youth in Croatia, and we got the impression that the Government of the Republic of Croatia wants to destroy the event and the entertainment industry in the Republic of Croatia. These measures themselves encourage mass illegal parties, where there is no implementation of epidemiological measures, and fiscalization is a foreign word. Also, young people from Croatia are still looking for their desire to have fun in neighboring countries, especially Bosnia, where in addition to lower VAT, and therefore lower drink prices, they can now refuel much cheaper fuel, so it turns out that this trip is 30 minutes to clubs in our neighboring countries free. All this is available to them without any restrictions on working hours, covid certificates, or tests. It is obvious that the headquarters is showing hypocrisy where it does not allow us to work, and encourages going to neighboring countries where no one controls you. We want to emphasize once again that we are not guilty of poor vaccination of Croatia, but that the Headquarters seeks the culprits in its contradictory decisions, such as this scientifically and logically unfounded claim that coronavirus attacks after midnight", said Domagoj Petričević from the Association of Nightclubs and Bars.

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

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Croatia's Coronavirus Update: 798 New Cases, 11 Deaths

ZAGREB, 2 Sept 2021 - In the last 24 hours, Croatia has performed 9,989 coronavirus tests, and 8% of them, that is 798, have turned out to be positive, and 11 COVID patients have died, bringing the COVID-related death toll to 8,349, the national coronavirus crisis management team stated on Thursday.

Currently, there are 3,943 active cases of infection in the country, and of them, 450 are receiving hospital treatment, including 53 patients placed on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020 when Croatia reported its first registered COVID case, more than 2.56 million tests have been conducted, showing that 375,601 people have caught the virus. Of them, 363,309 have recovered to date.

Since the start of its vaccine rollout, Croatia has administered nearly 3.3 million vaccines, and 42.64% of the population, or 51.22 of the adult citizens, have been vaccinated.

To date, 1,619, 592  citizens,  that is 47.99% of the adult population, have fully been immunized.

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 centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Milanović Says Current Anti-Epidemic Rules Have No Sense Any More

ZAGREB, 26 Aug 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Thursday that the current anti-epidemic rules had no sense any more, and that Croatia should follow the example of Sweden rather than France and Germany considering measures taken to combat the COVID pandemic.

Milanović said this did not mean that Croatia should not copy others, however, he admitted that the country was also a part of a wider community and "it cannot always be the way we believe is the smartest."

"I think now that it would be more prudent to do something different than France and Germany or some other countries are doing," Milanović told the press in the Dalmatian town of Kijevo near Knin where he attended ceremonies commemorating civilian victims of the war who died 30 years ago. "I would follow the suit of Sweden. Sweden can afford it for itself, however it pays a political price, we obviously cannot do that," the president said.

The president explained that many people had got vaccinated against coronavirus which now made the anti-epidemic rules unnecessary unless the healthcare system and intensive care wards were exposed to strain.

 He again called on the Croatians to get vaccinated.

 "Get vaccinated. Trust science, be pragmatic, take care of yourselves," Milanović said.

Commenting on the forthcoming population census, Milanović said that the findings of the census would probably show that the population in Croatia alone was downsized by 10% compared to the situation 10 years ago, and he ascribed that to the emigration of Croatians to Ireland, Great Britain, and other western countries.

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

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 centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Monday, 8 March 2021

Božinović: Difficult to Expect COVID Measures to be Relaxed as of 15 March

ZAGREB, 8 March, 2021 - The head of the national COVID response team, Davor Božinović, said on Monday that it is difficult to expect any further relaxation of measures after 15 March considering that numbers of new coronavirus cases are on the increase.

"At the end of the week we should decide on whether to extend the current measures as they expire on 15 March. It is still too early to say anything definite but considering the increase in numbers, it is difficult to expect any further relaxation of measures as of 15 March. We need to focus on maintaining the current measures so we don't have to go back," said Božinović.

Capak: 16% increase in new infections on the week

There were 94 new cases of coronavirus registered on Monday while 19 people died. The share of positive cases of the 2,178 tests conducted was 4.3%. That share was 8.6% in the past 7 days and 8.1% in the past 14 days. There are 805 hospitalised COVID patients, 74 of whom are on ventilators.

We have 16% more people infected on the week, the head of the Croatian Institute for Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, warned.

Croatia is currently in sixth place with regard to the incidence rate in the EU and 18th with regard to fatalities.

Capak said that an analysis of an immunology study conducted by the Zagreb Infectious Diseases Hospital could result in a new policy in the fight against coronavirus.

Anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 and has been given their first vaccine dose need not receive a second dose, he said.

Capak advised that the situation with the supply of vaccines has stabilised over the past two weeks and that another 62,400 doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine is expected in two shipments this week.

Johnson&Johnson's vaccine should be registered by the end of March and the first shipment of 900,000 doses should arrive mid-April.

As far as crossing the border based on a certificate of vaccination is concerned, not one country has introduced that measure as yet.

"There are bilateral talks between countries and we have some bilateral talks too to mutually recognise vaccination certificates," said Capak. 

The look of the certificate, which is used only for medical purposes, has been defined for now while its use for crossing borders is being discussed at the EU level.

Beroš: Massive check points for vaccination test run

Health Minister Vili Beroš said that so far 54,008 people have registered online to be vaccinated and there have also been 4,271 calls in that regard.

"We are witnessing that massive check points for vaccination are a test run for what is to follow in the second and third phases, when more vaccines are expected," said Beroš.

We must not allow this mild increase in new cases to become a trend, he said. "Vaccination is encouraging but it must not be the cause of premature relaxation."

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Index: Cafe Terraces Open In Two Weeks If Numbers Stay Low

February 17, 2021 – Indoor sports return and cafe terraces open on Monday 1st March if infection numbers remain low, learns Croatian media outlet Index.

By the time spring arrives, Croatian coffee lovers should be back enjoying their drinks outside their favourite cafe bar. Cafe terraces open on Monday 1st March 2021 if Coronavirus infection numbers remain low and stay on their current trajectory, according to Croatia media outlet Index.

Indoor sports will also return on the same date, with the same stipulation that infection numbers remain low. Having cafe terraces open again cannot come too soon for frustrated business owners. At the moment, they are only permitted to serve coffee to go. According to Index, from on Monday 1st March 2021, cafe terraces open and people will no longer need to congregate on the street outside, in parks or on benches to enjoy their drinks.

“Measures should be further relaxed throughout Croatia as of March 1, including the much-anticipated opening of cafe terraces,” says the portal. Cafe terraces open and other relaxed measures depend on the prerequisite of figures remaining at the level they are at now. “The share of newly infected in the number tested in recent days is below five percent,” Index adds.

Headquarters and the government had already announced that the next round of concessions could be expected in early March.

restaurant-644504_1920.jpgCafe terraces open in Croatia from March 1st 2021, if Coronavirus numbers remain low, say media outlet Index

Croatian cafe terraces open, the interior of cafes and restaurants remain closed

“As we find out, the terraces of cafes and restaurants will definitely open on March 1,” wrote Index. “However, according to information from a source close to the Headquarters, the closed (interior) parts of cafes and restaurants will not be opened. (This) is realistically expected in April at the earliest.”

“Once cafe terraces open, guests will most likely not be able to enter the interiors of cafes and restaurants, except perhaps for the use of toilets, to prevent indoor parts of cafes and restaurants from being used and guests being served there. Closed spaces are still considered by headquarters (to be) an extremely high risk when it comes to the spread of coronavirus.”

badminton-4139024_1920.jpg

Further relaxation of Coronavirus measures: Indoor sports to return

According to Index, although the first information received said that from March 1, only indoor sports for children would be opened, the portal has discovered that instead all indoor sports should be opened, with prescribed epidemiological measures. They remind that, according to current measures, only gyms, swimming pools and contactless individual ball sports are allowed.

books-5053733_1280.jpg

Public gatherings / marketplaces / fairs

“There should be concessions when it comes to fairs, but it is not yet completely clear under what conditions,” says the portal. Like supermarkets, open-air and indoor markets are currently permitted to operate. The newly relaxed measures will pertain to similar, but more irregular events at which arts & crafts, books and other goods are on display for sale. The portal say that the vending and consumption of food – which is traditional at such events – will likely not be permitted for now.

“The headquarters is inclined to open fairs where products are sold or exhibited, but the consumption of food and drinks might be limited to prevent excessive gatherings and socializing,” they say.

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Relaxation of Coronavirus measures pertaining to private gatherings

“The allowed number of people at various gatherings should not change significantly, only minor corrections are possible,” claims the portal, adding that the current ban on the gathering of people from more than two households may instead be downgraded to a recommendation. The portal reminds that this measure has not been strictly enforced in any way before.

"To give way on March 1, the numbers have to stay at about the level they are now. But the pressure is great - no one wants to keep something closed that should not be kept closed. Most of it is already open, so there remains a narrow circle of what can still be given,” a source close to the Headquarters is quoted as telling Index.

Friction between regional and national authorities over easing of Covid-19 measures

Even if cafe terrace open on March 1st, Index concludes their article by reminding that a disparity between regional and national authorities is still causing some friction. The friction between two north-westerly regions of the country and national headquarters is specifically addressed.

“The Headquarters believes that the announcement of the Istrian Headquarters that they will open the terraces of cafes and restaurants on March 1 was very incorrect. They (national headquarters) say that this opening is planned at the level of the whole of Croatia anyway.”

“However, the decision of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar headquarters, which postponed the opening of bookmakers and casinos in that county, is perhaps even more critically commented on. The government states that the opening of bookmakers (betting shops) and casinos is a purely financial decision and ironically comments that if the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County wants to leave these facilities closed, they should (themselves) cover the costs that will be incurred,” says the Index article.

Index claims that these moves from Istria and Rijeka (Primorje-Gorski Kotar) are regarded in the National Headquarters and the government as politicking and that they are connected with the upcoming local elections.

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Friday, 12 February 2021

Davor Bozinovic Explains Details of New Measures Valid from 15 to 28 February

February 12, 2021 – At today's press conference of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic presented and explained the details of the new epidemiological measures announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at yesterday's Government session. Namely, from February 15, caterers will be allowed to sell coffee to go, fitness centres, gyms, and bookmakers will be able to open. Students will be able to study in foreign language schools and in workshops.

The new eased measures, created by the Headquarters and the Government's reflection, will be valid until 28 February.

An epidemiologically, but also sociologically and psychologically justified approach

"We know how the situation can get worse in a short time. We don't expect this, but we must be careful. In the last seven days, we've even managed to get into third place in terms of incidence in Europe. But our primary interest is to lower the numbers of new infections so that, compared to other EU members, we now have the least stringent measures in Europe, which means that this effort is paying off. We must not relax totally, and just because we didn't do so before, we're able to ease some measures now.

February 28th is going to be here in less than two weeks, and from today we'll be thinking about measures that could be further relaxed if the trends remain like this. We don't know what that's all going to look like at the moment. Still, we're going to closely monitor everything that is happening, especially in regard to to the new variants, where the profession, primarily epidemiologists, have an essential role," said Božinović.

He added that they're advocating for a gradual approach that is epidemiologically but also sociologically and psychologically justified. From day one, they've been trying to learn as much as possible about the virus and society's behaviour, and they're also taking a new strain of the novel coronavirus and its appearance in Croatia into consideration. He spoke about the easing of the country's measures in five categories.

The delivery of food, beverages, and desserts from catering facilities:

Those who pick up food and beverages must not stay on the terraces and in front of the buildings or enter the buildings. While waiting in line, they should maintain space between each other and wear masks. Staying in front of the building shouldn't be encouraged by things like playing music, the terraces should be fenced off, and tables should be removed or arranged in a way that they can't be used. Notices must be posted on facilities prohibiting entry, the maintaining of social distancing, and so on.

2. Gyms and fitness centres:

The maximum number of people inside - one person pet 20 square metres - should be taken into account, as well as proper ventilation. If the building doesn't have such artificial ventilation, the premises should be ventilated every ten minutes. Exercise machines should be disinfected after each use. Users are allowed to use only their own towels and gym mats etc. They should avoid close contact and maintain a distance of four metres between each other. The use of shared showers is still prohibited. A list of such users must be kept, and masks must be worn on arrival and checkout, as well as during registration.

3. Language schools:

It's necessary to limit the number of users per group to maintain a distance of two metres. In addition, masks are mandatory. Lecturers/teachers must keep their distance from the participants/students, wear a mask or separate themselves totally plexiglas, they must also measure temperatures. A list of participants should be kept here, too.

4. Children's workshops and playrooms:

It's necessary to limit users to one person per seven square metres and highlight that notice at the facility's entrance. You should maintain a distance and wear masks, ensure disinfection, as well as the proper disinfection of devices and toys, and of course, measure people's temperatures when they enter.

5. Slot machine clubs, bookmakers, and casinos:

Betting places/bookmakers – epidemiological measures apply here in the same way as they do for stores, depending on the facility's size. The number of people entering should be limited. Users should wear masks and keep a distance from each other, staff also, who should be separated from users with plexiglas, and they should disinfect the facility.

Slot clubs and casinos – the number of users should be limited to one user per seven metres of gross usable space. The catering part of these facilities must be closed off. Catering services can't be provided in such facilities.

When asked why children who train indoors still cannot go to their training, and bookmakers are allowed to work, epidemiologist Bernard Kaić answered, but before that, Božinović pointed out:

"Graduality means that we can't let everything open at once. We're easing these measures in a certain order, about which we've concluded at meetings. Some arguments prevail a little more in some places, others do so in other places. Epidemiologists will create a framework by which almost anything can be maintained. Still, we're going to take care to adopt our measures that favour children, which was the argument when we opened schools. The profession recommends that when we ease things, we need to first give preference to children, schools, workshops, and playrooms because children are the ones who find living like this the most difficult to grasp. Those who are older can understand the situation better. We aren't comfortable making such decisions either, but we're making them together," said Božinović.

Basic rules: limit gatherings and use your own initiative:

"Every activity carries a risk. The epidemiological framework can provide guidelines for risk reduction, but in some situations, no epidemiological framework can eliminate the risk entirely, and then the priority activities must be determined. This was discussed at the Government and the Headquarters' meeting, and this all resulted from those negotiations. Children's playrooms also pose a risk, as do children's sports and going back to school and kindergarten and the like, as well as me just going to the market. But I prefer to go to the market than to do some other activities. I agree that if all measures were eased up at once, we'd very easily have an increased number of patients. Yesterday, a Government Council member stated that there are only three basic rules: limit gatherings, small groups, and take the initiative. All of these measures that are introduced or relaxed only serve to limit gatherings, smaller and larger ones, to reduce close contacts," Kaić explained.

Božinović also referred to schools and school halls. They allowed offline classes and made sure that different classes don't interfere with each other, and that children don't all come to school at the same time. Since children aren't divided into sports groups as they are in classes, if the school halls are open, there would be more mixing between them, and then the possibility of spreading the virus is increased.

The above decisions will be valid for two weeks, and then the Headquarters will think once again about the further opening up of other facilities if the number of infections continues to fall.

Source: Jutarnji.hr

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Four New Measures: Coffee to Go Allowed, Gyms, Foreign Language Schools, Casinos Open

February 11, 2021 – At today's Government session, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković presented four new measures valid from Monday, February 15, 2021. The four new measures include allowing cafes to serve coffee to go and the opening up of gyms, foreign language schools and casinos.

Asked about whether the epidemiological measures would be relaxed after February 15, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said yesterday that "fellow citizens who have shown a great deal of responsibility and patience should be rewarded." At today's Government session, Plenković announced the changes, warning that there is still no room for excessive relaxation nor the cessation of the responsible behaviour of all citizens.

"We monitored the development of the epidemiological situation in Croatia, and after talks with the Civil Protection Headquarters, epidemiologists, and members of the Government, we made several decisions," said Plenković.

The four new measures include:

  • enabling caterers to sell coffee to go and thus allow them to do business; February's fees are valid for the entire month
  • allowing the opening of gyms and fitness centres while respecting epidemiological measures, which is good for physical activity and people's health
  • enabling children to study in foreign language schools so that in addition to their regular school activities, they can also attend extracurricular activities
  • allowing the opening of bookmakers, slot machine clubs, and casinos, with restrictions on the consumption of beverages

Plenković added that the next analysis of the measures' effect would be on March 1, 2021. They will decide whether there will be new relaxations or a new tightening up of those epidemiological measures, depending on the epidemiological situation.

Plenković also reported on the situation with the spread of the novel coronavirus in Croatia and the declining trend of new infections. Today, Croatia is third country in the European Union in terms of the weekly average number of confirmed cases per million inhabitants. We have the fifth largest two-week drop in the number of deaths.

"At the same time, we're still in the winter months, and a strong wave of cold weather has been announced. The British variant of the virus has also been identified in Croatia. Many European countries are extending or tightening up their measures. After the initial delays in the delivery of vaccines, we have indications that Pfizer and AstraZeneca's delivery dynamics will accelerate, and we can expect larger quantities by the end of March. So far, we've received about 150,000 doses, and we expect more than 600,000 doses by the end of March, which means that we will be able to vaccinate a much larger number of our fellow citizens," said Plenković.

He pointed out that all three vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca – are all one hundred percent effective in preventing death from the virus. They are also effective against the need for respirators and the development of more severe symptoms.

"There are no obstacles which would suggest that people over 65 should not receive the AstraZeneca vaccine,'' said Plenković, adding that they want to vaccinate as many people as possible who are at risk.

Health Minister Vili Beroš reported that the vaccine's 669 side effects had been reported, and they were most commonly just mild reactions.

"The number of new cases is continuing to fall from week to week. We're monitoring the spread of new variants of this virus. Continuing the vaccination process is our tool for success. Today, we mark the World Day of the Sick. Special emphasis is placed on emotional struggles, and as such I'd like to thank our healthcare professionals," Beroš said.

To read more news about coronavirus in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Epidemiologist: At This Rate, Vaccination Goal Won't Be Met Until Autumn

February 9, 2021 – In a Croatian media TV interview, epidemiologist of the Croatian Institute of Public Health Bernard Kaić yesterday said the plan to vaccinate half of the population by the summer will be delayed. He predicted that if Croatia continues vaccination at its current rate, the goal would not be reached until autumn, possibly late autumn

Epidemiologist of the Croatian Institute of Public Health Bernard Kaić, speaking to Croatian media RTL, told them the plan to vaccinate half of the population by the summer will be delayed. The epidemiologist predicted that if Croatia continues vaccination at its current rate, the goal of vaccinating half of the population within the country will not be completed until autumn, possibly late autumn.

"I can't say (by) exactly how much,” he told RTL, regarding how much delay will occur, “because we still don't know how many vaccines we'll get in March. And (how much) after March we (still) have no idea.”

“If this pace continues, it would take four million doses to vaccinate half the population. We won't achieve that until autumn for sure, and it’s late autumn,” the epidemiologist said.

According to an article in Index, the epidemiologist said that, as things currently stand, there will be three vaccines used in Croatia - AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech. They will be used concurrently, with vaccinations from all three available in Croatia at the same time.

When asked which vaccine he would choose to be vaccinated with, the epidemiologist answered that he did not know and that he was glad that he did not have the opportunity to choose. "There was only one offered so I got vaccinated,” said the epidemiologist. “It would be really hard to decide."

When asked why some states have given up vaccinating those over the age of 65 with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the epidemiologist explained that in currently available results from clinical studies the messenger RNA vaccine had proven to be somewhat more effective in preventing mild forms of Coronavirus than the AstraZeneca vaccine. Some of the vaccines work in different ways. However, the epidemiologist ultimately said that it was expected the AstraZeneca vaccine would prove to be effective, it was just that this had not yet been proven statistically.

bernard-kaic-e505fb44671c29c2fdonRTL.jpgRTL screenshot

Later in the interview, the epidemiologist was asked “Due to skepticism towards AstraZeneca, many associations in (Croatia's) border areas plan to take pensioners to Serbia for vaccination. How smart is it to accept such an arrangement?”

The epidemiologist replied; “My only fear is that such organized trips do not turn into corona-trips so that people do not get infected on the way back and forth and do themselves harm. I would wait.”

The three vaccines for which Croatia is currently expecting deliveries are now not the only vaccines available. Speaking in a discussion on the same evening on another Croatian media outlet, HRT, Zlatko Trobonjača, an immunologist from the Rijeka Clinical Hospital, spoke about the Russian vaccine.

"Our country is obviously following the EU and its decisions,” he said. “The EU has entered into talks with Russia. It can be expected that these talks will continue. It is a quality vaccine, it provides high protection.”

"As for the quality of the vaccine, we can see that it is not harmful and it could be used in our country. The EU is oriented towards Western companies. And now, they (the companies) did not stick to the agreement," Trobonjača said, adding that he would be vaccinated with the first vaccine that was made available to him.

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