Wednesday, 23 December 2020

COVID-19 Vaccinations in Croatia to Start on Sunday, December 27, Announces PM

December 23, 2020 - The Croatian Government has announced that COVID-19 vaccinations in Croatia will begin on Sunday.

As reports, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said today at the press conference in the National and University Library that the vaccination will begin on Sunday, December 27, 2020.

"Safety is based on controlled clinical trials. Vaccinations will start on December 27, and it will take place over the next few months. We want as many of our fellow citizens to be vaccinated, and preferably everyone. That is why we have a clear debate that as many people as possible decide to get vaccinated. We aim for 70 percent of our fellow citizens to be vaccinated," Plenković said, reports Večernji list.

People in nursing homes will first get vaccinated

The vaccination will be free and voluntary. The first to be vaccinated will be those at risk because of their age or illness and their type of work.

"The priority groups are health professionals who are in contact with COVID-19 patients and users of social care homes. In the second phase, the elderly and those with chronic diseases will be vaccinated. The vaccine is coming on Saturday, it will be distributed to counties on Sunday, and mostly those in nursing homes will be vaccinated," said Krunoslav Capak, director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

Only the documentation content has changed, so now pregnant women and those who are planning to become pregnant can be vaccinated. There is no evidence that the vaccine acts on the fetus and pregnancy.

"We entered the negotiations on vaccine procurement with a timely response from the Government. We are a small market for large companies, and we often have problems with regular supply. We have secured maximum quantities of vaccines. When everyone gets the vaccine, we will get it too. That will happen on Saturday," Capak said.

Campaign 'Think of others, get vaccinated'

The Croatian Government has so far ordered 5,905,000 doses of the vaccine, of which one million from Pfizer, over two million from AstraZeneca, one million from Moderna, 900,000 from Johnson&Johnson, and 300,000 from CureVac.

Prime Minister Plenković said the vaccination plan's success depends on how many people will want to be vaccinated. He called on all media outlets to join the campaign under the slogan, "Think of others, get vaccinated."

"The Croatian Institute of Public Health has launched a campaign to promote vaccination. This is a key message. The arrival of the vaccine is an encouraging message, a message that gives hope for the normalization of life, social, and economic activities," Plenković explained. "This is an unprecedented crisis that has changed the world," he added.

Plenković said there is a loud but small group of people who oppose vaccination, but that there are many more people who want to be vaccinated than the vaccines that will come in the first tranche. Capak added that there would be enough vaccines for everyone.

"The arrival of the vaccine is a hope for the future. This is the moment when we come to the situation that by the end of March, we have about 270,000 doses of vaccine," Plenković said.

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

Monday, 21 December 2020

Effective Vaccine Whose Benefits Outweigh Possible Risks Available

ZAGREB, Dec 21, 2020 - The director of Croatia's Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices (HALMED) said on Monday the European Medicines Agency's approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine confirmed that all Croatian citizens could be sure to have access to an effective vaccine whose benefits outweighed possible risks.

Earlier today, EMA recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccine Comirnaty, developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, to prevent COVID-19 in people from 16 years of age.

EMA’s human medicines committee has completed its rigorous evaluation of Comirnaty, concluding by consensus that sufficiently robust data on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine are now available, HALMED said in a press release.

HALMED evaluators have participated in this procedure from the start as members of EMA's scientific commissions and working groups, Tomic said. "After the vaccine is put on the market, we will continue to intensively monitor the efficacy and safety of its application together with the Croatian Institute of Public Health and other regulators in the European Union."

EMA's scientific opinion will be submitted to the European Commission that will decide by tomorrow at the latest to grant marketing authorisation, which will be valid in all EU and European Economic Area member states, including Croatia.

The Comirnaty clinical trial involved around 44,000 people and showed a 95% reduction in the number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases in the people who received the vaccine, HALMED said.

The trial also showed around 95% efficacy in the participants at risk of severe COVID-19, including those with asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or a body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2. 

Comirnaty is given as two injections at least 21 days apart. The most common side effects were usually mild or moderate and got better within a few days after vaccination.

As Comirnaty is recommended for a conditional marketing authorisation, the company that markets it will continue to provide results from the main trial, which is ongoing for two years. This trial and additional studies will provide information on how long protection lasts, how well the vaccine prevents severe COVID-19, how well it protects immunocompromised people, children and pregnant women, and whether it prevents asymptomatic cases.

The company will also carry out studies to provide additional assurance on the pharmaceutical quality of the vaccine as the manufacturing continues to be scaled up. Comirnaty will be closely monitored and subject to several activities that apply specifically to COVID-19 vaccines.

Although large numbers of people have received COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials, certain side effects may only emerge when millions of people are vaccinated, HALMED said. 

Friday, 18 December 2020

First Small Batch of COVID-19 Vaccine to be Delivered on Dec 26 to Croatia

ZAGREB, Dec 18, 2020 - Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) director Krunoslav Capak said on Friday that Pfizer would dispatch the COVID vaccine to EU member states on December 26 and that Croatia was among the countries that would receive this symbolic quantity.

He added, however, that it was still unknown when Croatia would get the rest of the million doses it ordered.

Capak said the delivery was being discussed with Pfizer at EU level and that the company promised that the tranche for the last quarter of 2020 would be dispatched by the end of January.

We assume will know the quantity by the end of next week, he added.

7 m2 per person in churches on Dec 24, 25

Mass services with more than 25 people will be allowed on December 24 and 25, provided that each person has seven square metres at their disposal, which will ensure a 2.6-metre-distance between them,

Speaking at a press conference of the national COVID-19 response team, he said that before and after those two days the ban on more than 25 people gathering indoors and outdoors would remain in force.

The HZJZ will appeal to the Church and the clergy to make sure that believers comply with the restrictions. Outside churches, a maximum 25 people will be allowed to gather and the recommendation is that all services on Christmas Eve end by 10 p.m.

Asked why bars and restaurants were not allowed to work under the 7 m2 criterion per customer, Capak said the answer was "impossible."

"We keep telling you that, with the measures, we are trying to ban contacts, but without banning the activities which are necessary for economic, psychological, social and other reasons. This measure is tied to respecting believers' wishes and needs for spiritual peace and the need to celebrate this holiday."

Small quantity of COVID-19 vaccine to be delivered on Dec 26Infections have dropped 20% in one week

In the week of December 14-18, Croatia recorded 20% fewer infections than the week before, "for the first time in weeks," but it will take more time for this mild downward trends to be reflected in "the number of hospitalisations, persons on ventilators and deaths," said Capak.

Compared with other EU countries, Croatia continues to have one of the highest incidence rates, ranking third on December 17, after Luxembourg and Lithuania.

Health minister on travel restrictions, bonus for working with COVID patients

Health Minister Vili Beros said travel within the country was being restricted ahead of the upcoming holidays because of asymptomatic patients.

He also responded to complaints from medical staff that this month they did not get the promised salary bonus for working with COVID patients, saying they would get it with the salary for December.

He said some hospitals had calculated the salaries for November before receiving the notification on how to calculate the bonus. "Not one health worker who works with COVID patients will be left without their bonus."

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Croatian Scientists: Chance of Serious Vaccine Side Effects Far Lower Than Virus Complications

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of December, 2020, a group of Croatian scientists and doctors have stated in an open letter to the public on Sunday that without the coronavirus vaccination, the ongoing epidemic would not go away, stressing that they were convinced by rigorous scientific testing that all of the currently approved vaccines would be effective and safe.

''Based on rigorous pre-vaccine testing, and according to the strict rules of the medical and scientific community and regulatory agencies, we're confident that all of the approved COVID-19 vaccines will be effective and safe and that the risk of their serious side effects will be to be reduced to a minimum,'' pointed out the signatories of the letter, among whom is the Croatian scientist Ivan Djikic, who has been especially vocal during the pandemic.

Croatian scientists and doctors have warned that without vaccination, and without additionally respecting the proper epidemiological measures, this pandemic will not disappear, but will consequently last longer and cause additional human and economic losses for Croatia's residents.

''Proper vaccination provides protection against infection for individuals, and vaccination of the population can lead to the creation of collective immunity. For these reasons, but also for the lack of more effective therapy, we consider vaccination against COVID-19 to be the best way to protect people,'' the statement said.

The risk of serious side effects from the vaccine is immeasurably less than the risk of developing complications as a result of the coronavirus infection.

Croatian scientists and doctors, as well as those from abroad, have stated that the new coronavirus is potentially very dangerous and is highly contagious, and that the risk of serious side effects from vaccination is immeasurably lower than the risk of complications due to COVID-19 for each age group.

''A lot of people are undecided whether or not to get vaccinated because of the possible side effects. It's important to understand that the vaccine activates the immune system and teaches it to recognise the virus in a safe way. Therefore, it acts as a fake infection, which helps build immunity against SARS-COV-2, but it can also cause some transient discomfort,'' they explained.

This group of Croatian scientists also say that vaccines for the novel coronavirus have been developed faster than any other vaccine in the world, and that they understand the level of public interest in them and the questions that are being asked about it. However, they state that their trust in these currently developed vaccines is based on the extensive results of scientific tests, and that the vaccines that will be used in Croatia are tested and approved according to the strictest safety criteria of the European Union.

Vaccine administration is continuously monitored by regulatory authorities.

Many side effects such as local redness, fever and fatigue are actually very normal consequences after each vaccination as this is an effect of the expected activation of the immune system, but they aren't considered to be more severe side effects than usual, the scientists explain.

''To reduce the risk of serious side effects to an absolute minimum, extensive and rigorously controlled clinical studies are being conducted on tens of thousands of volunteers,” they say. They add that even after the vaccine is approved, the use of the vaccine is then continuously monitored by regulatory bodies, and in the event of more serious side effects, vaccination is limited or suspended.

At the end of the statement, they pointed out that as scientists and members of the healthcare community, they unanimously support and recommend the official Vaccination Programme in Croatia, according to a harmonised schedule and priorities, in order to protect human life from possible serious consequences of the disease.

The statement was signed by the following Croatian scientists: Ana Barac, Ivan Djikic, Magdalena Grce, Danka Grcevic, Stipan Jonjic, Vanda Juranic Lisnic, Tomislav Kelava, Vladimir Krajinovic, Astrid Krmpotic, Pero Lucin, Kresimir Luetic, Igor Mezic, Bojan Polic, Iskra Pusic, Kristijan Ramadan , Ivana Novak Nakir, Marija Santini, Vlatko Silobrcic, Mihaela Skobe, Sasa Srica, Ivana Smit, Igor Stagljar, Tihomir Stefanec, Janos Terzic, Andrej Trampuz, Boris Ujevic, Sinisa Volarevic, Domagoj Vucic, Oliver Vugrek and Felix Wensveen.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Friday, 4 December 2020

Plenkovic Says will Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

ZAGREB, December 4, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is ready to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in public and fully supports the campaign of promoting COVID-19 vaccination, the government's spokesman Marko Milic said on Friday.

The spokesman explained that PM Plenkovic has contracted the coronavirus virus and is currently in isolation, which is why he will hold the necessary consultations with doctors on the appropriate time for him to be vaccinated.

Since the very beginning Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has fully and publicly supported vaccination as the method to immunise people against the COVID-19 disease. Having in mind that in the period when the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses will start, Plenkovic will be one of those who have recovered from that disease and he will hold the necessary consultations with doctors on the appropriate time for his vaccination, as suggested by Health Minister Vili Beros earlier in the day, Milic said in his answer to Hina's inquiries.

Milic reiterated that medical professionals, retirement home staff and residents as well as old-age citizens and patients suffering from chronic diseases will be the first to get the COVID-jabs.

Croatia has pre-orders 5.6 million doses of vaccine, Pfizer's expected to arrive first

Croatia has pre-ordered 5.6 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, and the vaccination could start with the Pfizer vaccine, which is expected to arrive first in 125,000 doses, Croatian Public Health Institute director Krunoslav Capak said earlier today.

Capak said that the European Union had entered into negotiations with six manufacturers, and the first agreement presented to Croatia was the one with AstraZeneca.

Croatia has pre-ordered 3.6 million doses of vaccine from that manufacturer but was allocated 2.7 million because of the huge interest of other EU member states, so it has pre-ordered 900,000 doses from Johnson & Johnson. After that, a million doses have been pre-ordered from Pfizer and Moderna each, and 300,000 doses from CureVac.

"Croatia has pre-ordered 5.6 million doses of vaccine from different manufacturers, and we have also received an offer from a company that will register its vaccine towards the end of 2021. We will order smaller quantities from it in case this is a seasonal vaccine," Capak said.

The Pfizer vaccine could be registered by December 29, Moderna expects to have its vaccine registered early in January, so it is likely that these two vaccines will be the first to be used in Croatia, given that the AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be registered slightly later in the first quarter of next year, Capak said.

The government says that all information about its activities in the preparations for administering COVID-19 jabs is available on

President Zoran Milanovic and several senior officials as well as leading epidemiologists have in the meantime expressed readiness to get vaccinated.

Friday, 4 December 2020

President Ready to Get Vaccinated in Public to Show Importance of Vaccination

ZAGREB, December 4, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic thinks that all Croatian citizens should get vaccinated against COVID-19 and is himself ready to do so in public to show the importance of vaccination, his spokesman said on Friday.

"President Milanovic is of the view that everyone should get vaccinated. He counts on civil responsibility and awareness, and is himself ready to get vaccinated in public to show by example the importance of vaccination," presidential spokesman Nikola Jelic said in response to Hina's query.

Milanovic said on November 24 that, if necessary, he will be the first to get vaccinated because it is important that Croatian citizens understand that vaccination is good and necessary, and that in that way we protect ourselves collectively, Jelic recalled.

Earlier in the day, the members of the national COVID-19 response team also expressed their readiness to get vaccinated in public.

Friday, 4 December 2020

Capak on Vaccination Plan in Croatia: It Won't Be Mandatory, But Masks Will

December 4, 2020 – At today's press conference of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Krunoslav Capak, director of the Croatian Institute for Public Health, presented the vaccination plan in Croatia.

Capak said that the EU had opened negotiations with six manufacturers in the first phase and that the first agreement Croatia had received was the AstraZeneca agreement. From this manufacturer, 3.6 million doses of vaccine were ordered, but due to the huge interest of other EU countries, Croatia received 2.7 million doses, so the remaining 900,000 doses were ordered from Johnson & Johnson.

After that, one million doses were ordered from Pfizer and Moderna, and 300,000 doses from CureVac.

"Croatia has ordered 5.6 million vaccine doses from various manufacturers, and we have received an offer from the company that will register it at the end of 2021. We will take smaller quantities from them in case this is a seasonal vaccine," Capak said.

Pfizer's vaccine could be registered by December 29, registration of the Moderna vaccine is expected in early January, so it is likely that these vaccines will be the first to be vaccinated in Croatia, as the Oxford (AstraZeneca) vaccine is expected later in the first quarter of next year, said Capak.

Vaccination free and voluntary, masks still mandatory

"We've made a vaccination plan. It has all the elements except the distribution date and quantity, that's what we don't know yet. Pfizer has announced that the first round that comes to us will contain 125,000 doses. If it's a quarterly delivery, we'll be able to vaccinate 62,500 people. If there is a monthly delivery, then we will be able to vaccinate 125,000 people," said Capak, adding that the priority people are the sick, people in health care, users and staff of nursing homes. After that, the vaccine will be offered to all other residents.

"We calculate that 5.6 million doses will be enough for everyone who wants to be vaccinated. The vaccine will be free and voluntary, it will not be mandatory. But it would be good to vaccinate as many people as possible; it provides us with collective immunity," said Capak, emphasizing that the era of not wearing masks will not begin with the vaccination itself.

"For a while, we will coexist with masks even though we have been vaccinated or got over it. When the numbers fall then we will reduce the obligation to wear masks," Capak said.

The importance of informing about vaccination

"All vaccines recommend two doses. The second dose follows three or four weeks after the first. In the implementation, we took a model of how we do it for the flu. The county public health institutes will vaccinate with the help of other colleagues," he says.

Also, Capak added that it is very important to inform citizens truthfully and accurately, so the Government will hold a series of expert conferences to promote the importance of vaccination.

"In the fight against anti-vaccines, it is important to accurately inform citizens, and we are already doing that. The government will run an additional campaign, there will be a series of professional and scientific conferences, experts will talk about the vaccine and effectiveness. We will promote the importance of vaccination through the media and other means of communication and we think it is very important to emphasize in this campaign that vaccination protects not only ourselves but also others. It is a matter of social responsibility and solidarity with those most vulnerable from a coronavirus infection,” Capak said.

He added that no one even talked about compulsory vaccination.

"I will definitely get vaccinated and I offer you to record it when the vaccine comes to Croatia," Capak promised reporters and was joined by other members Davor Bozinović, Alemka Markotić, and Vili Beroš.

"It is said that this is the fastest developed vaccine in history. That is true, but one should know the fact that from the beginning it was obvious that the cure would be difficult to find. Therefore, large funds were quickly invested in vaccine research and production," Capak said in the introduction of the conference.

Sources: Hina,

To read more news about coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated page.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Croatian President Says we All Should Get Vaccinated

ZAGREB, November 25, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday that the he was in favour of vaccinating the whole population against COVID-19, and that he counted on principles of public mindedness in that regard.

Before the ceremony of opening an exhibition in Zagreb's Museum of Arts and Crafts, Milanovic was asked by reporters to comment on the efficiency of vaccines that are currently being developed against COVID-19.

In response to media reports on that topic, Milanovic said that he trusted the results published after the trials of anti-COVID vaccines in world laboratories.

"I trust that. I get vaccinated when it is necessary, my children get vaccinated," Milanovic said adding that no one should circumvent that.

"In my mind, everyone should get vaccinated, and I count on public mindedness," the president said underscoring that vaccinations have saved millions of lives in the last 70 years.

He said that he did not know the government's position on the issue.

The government is going to procure nearly three million jabs. Whether the vaccination will be mandatory, this is a very serious topic, Milanovic said.

He said that he had raised this issue at Monday's session of the National Security Council (VNS).

Commenting on that VNS session, Milanovic said that it "was o.k." considering his premonitions.

Asked whether the relations between him and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic were mended, the president said that one should not look at that personally.

As for the national COVID-19 crisis management team, Milanovic said that the body "gets legally rather curved" , however, he underscored, that he had not criticised any of the measures adopted by that body. The president added that he had criticised the situation in which this level of measures had been adopted without "a green light" that is approval from the parliament.

Monday, 23 November 2020

Capak: One Should Wait for Full info on AstraZeneca Vaccine

ZAGREB, November 23, 2020 - Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) head Krunoslav Capak on Monday called for patience before the completion of trials of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.

Earlier in the day, media outlets reported that the coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford stops 70% of people from developing Covid symptoms, according to a large-scale trial.

"This information is too serious. A few hours ago, reports said that the efficiency of the vaccine was estimated at 70%, and later AstraZeneca insisted on the rebuttal of that information, claiming that it could increase protection up to 90%," Capak told a news conference, adding that he would rahter wait for the completion of the vaccination trials.

KB Dubrava hospital has enough room and ventilators 

Assistant Health Minister Vera Katalinic Jankovic told the news conference that the situation in Zagreb's KB Dubrava hospital, which was converted into an institution for treating COVID-19 patients, was stable.

Currently, the hospital is providing for 420 patients and there is enough room in six intensive care units. There are enough ventilators, and we will procure new ones if necessary, the assistant minister said.

The head of the Zagreb-based Dr. Fran Mihaljevic hospital for infectious diseases, Alemka Markotic, said that currently 26 patients in that hospital were placed on ventilators.

"All over the world, there is a marked rise in the number of COVID patients, their clinical picture is graver than the situation in the spring, much more people have developed pneumonia. The situation is under control, but all are following the developments with concern," Markotic said.

Two to three winter months are ahead of us, it will be more and more difficult to keep the situation under control. We must be aware that all this will not be over in a few weeks' time. We are going to face an increasing pressure to care for patients who fall ill from the coronavirus infection, she said.

1,973 new coronavirus infections, 45 deaths in last 24 hours

Croatia has registered 1,973 new cases of the coronavirus infection over the past 24 hours, as well as 45 related deaths, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said today.

The number of active cases in Croatia stands at 19,275. There are 2,060 COVID patients in hospitals, including 235 on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when Croatia registered its first case, a total of 105,691 people have contracted coronavirus, 1,398 of them have died, and 85,018 have recovered, including 2,638 in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 40,083 people in self-isolation.

To date, 683,104 people have been tested for coronavirus, including 6,139 in the last 24 hours.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

How Many Croatian Nationals Would Utilise New Coronavirus Vaccine?

November the 18th, 2020 - With the excellent news surrounding the new coronavirus vaccine which is now in its final stages, just how many Croatian citizens would be willing to vaccinate themselves against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2? A new survey has revealed some interesting responses and figures.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, of those asked, thirteen percent of respondents have stated that they will definitely get vaccinated against the new virus which took the world by storm this year, while thirty percent stated that they are likely to do so. However, as many as 36 percent of respondents are unlikely to be vaccinated while 21 percent have claimed that they certainly will not obtain the new coronavirus vaccine for themselves.

Those who do agree to the vaccine would be vaccinated out of responsibility to others, as well as because that would suppress the infection itself, giving the virus less healthy people to infect and as such slow it down. Some of them would vaccinate against SARS-CoV-2 as a precaution, and some of them would do so out of not wanting to infect the elderly, those with underlying conditions and complications or members of their families.

A quarter of the respondents will be vaccinated because they are older and because it is a recommendation of the profession for them to protect themselves in such a manner.

Those who would not get vaccinated have claimed they'd avoid it because they don't believe in the new coronavirus vaccine, and some people are afraid of potential side effects. One in three people who oppose the vaccine believe that the vaccines are generally unsafe and have unwelcome health consequences.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Page 7 of 8