Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Croatian Pharmacies Want to Vaccinate People, But There's a Problem...

August the 3rd, 2021 - Croatian pharmacies would like to step in and ramp up the vaccination process, aiding all those who haven't yet managed to get to a mass vaccination point in getting their first and second doses, but there is of course, in typical Croatian fashion, an issue.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, numerous Croatian residents have readily taken the opportunity to get their digital COVID-certificates issued in Croatian pharmacies, but imagine how much better things might be if you could go there for vaccination, too?

To obtain a digital COVID certificate, you just need to show either your health insurance card or your identity card, on the basis of which the pharmacist enters you into the database of the Ministry of Health by entering your OIB and issuing you with your certificate. People can get it printed out in paper form if they so wish, or the pharmacist can send it to their e-mail address.

According to Ana Soldo, President of the Croatian Chamber of Pharmacists, despite the initial crowding, the issuance of COVID certificates went mostly smoothly, and people rarely waited for more than a few minutes to receive them. There were technical problems in some Croatian pharmacies, which is expected, and they were effectively eliminated.

It took a lot of time for pharmacists to be able to issue these certificates, but the Chamber expects that such a situation will not last long, reports Novi list.

''It has now become available to people, so people did start going to Croatian pharmacies to get them issued. I believe that then the interest will slowly subside,'' Soldo said.

Regarding the start of vaccination in Croatian pharmacies, which is expected in a few weeks, the pharmacy chamber says that there will be no more mass vaccination rollouts, but the vaccines will be introduced only where there's a need for them.

Coronavirus vaccination will not be performed by the pharmacists themselves, but by doctors who will visit various Croatian pharmacies in mobile teams.

''There aren't many doctors with the time to come out and do this, so this will take place only in those Croatian pharmacies in areas where there are no vaccination points, so that it will make it easier for people to come and get vaccinated. We're going to try to solve this problem by the end of the year by vaccinating people in Croatian pharmacies on our own, without a doctor coming to do it. All countries that have such a model also have much better vaccination coverage,'' added Soldo.

As an example, she pointed out the fantastic results of the United Kingdom, where people are regularly vaccinated by pharmacists, and the vaccination level against influenza in elderly people and those with chronic illnesses is higher than 70 percent, while in Croatia, it is rather shamefully under 20 percent.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and choose your preferred language.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Porec Vaccination Point Error as Vaccines Disappear After 10 Minutes

July the 12th, 2021 - Vaccination is underway across the world with more and more people getting their first and second doses in an attempt to protect themselves, those around them and finally bring an end to this truly tiresome global pandemic. The Porec vaccination point organisation, however, experienced quite the embarrassing and unexpected error recently.

As Morski writes, a rather unusual situation happened recently at an organised Porec vaccination point, where the free vaccination of citizens with the Pfizer vaccine had been planned. Many people who turned up to get vaccinated waited around and didn't even manage to receive the vaccine.

The increasingly intensive promotion of vaccination against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, by both the state and local authorities in some places across the country finally seems to have borne fruit. A Porec vaccination point was organised very recently from 10:00, and people could arrive there without invitation or needing to give any prior notice, but after only 10 minutes, doctors went outside and told those gathered waiting to be vaccinated that there were no more vaccines available, writes Dnevnik.hr.

It seems that the local institutions in Porec didn't properly communicate the whole story well because people who were coming there for their second dose of the vaccine also responded to this public call. Namely, unannounced vaccination is intended only for those who are coming to get their first dose of the vaccine.

The Istrian Institute of Public Health claims that about 200 people from other counties came to the Porec vaccination point who needed a second dose, not a first dose, without notice. So, as they explained from the Institute, they met them and vaccinated them with another dose from the planned stocks for people coming for their first dose, more precisely those who haven't yet been vaccinated.

The Istrian Institute of Public Health is, as such, appealing to people travelling there from other counties not to come for their second doses without notice so as not to create unnecessary crowds and a repeat of this odd situation which ended up being a waste of the time of all involved.

In typical Croatian fashion, there still seems to be a lot of holes in the communication channels between the various institutions and people when it comes to vaccination. It is no surprise in this case, and with the fact that currently only those with HZZO can be vaccinated, that so few people are turning up.

In a global pandemic, one would think that even Croatia would cut the paperwork and red tape and simply vaccinate everyone, however that still seems, for some reason, a pipe dream as many still wait to receive their first dose.

For all you need to know about coronavirus in Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Friday, 7 May 2021

Sostar: Number of Vaccinations Administered Will Influence Relaxation of Measures

May the 7th, 2021 - Zvonimir Sostar, the director of the Zagreb Institute of Public Health, has stated that the vaccination rollout and the amount of people vaccinated will of course hold a strong influence over any relaxation of Croatia's current and future anti-epidemic measures.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, in an interview with RTL Direkt (Direct), the director of the Zagreb Institute of Public Health, Zvonimir Sostar, commented on the current epidemiological situation across the country and the increasing demands for the further relaxation of anti-epidemic measures.

"I don't think it's time to ease the measures yet, we've had 600 new cases of infection just in Zagreb. That's much better than it was a month ago, the circulation of the British strain, which infected about 98 percent of those who fell ill, is slowly coming to an end. The fourteen-day incidence is still very high in Zagreb, standing at around 600. When it drops to around 150, then we can talk about easing some of the measures,''

“A balance needs to be found, our psychologists and psychiatrists working with young people have one-month waiting lists for the first time ever. Of course young people cannot live locked inside their four walls, and school is just one way of them socialising. I think we can slowly release the measures regarding high school, but that will have to be the decision of the Zagreb Civil Protection Directorate. We're going to follow the numbers and decide,'' he said (read more on that here).

The number of vaccinations administered will absolutely affect the easing of the epidemiological measures. If we're looking at the percentages, the most people in all of Croatia which have been vaccinated are in Zagreb, over 25 percent of them who are over 18 years of age. Today, about 7,400 people have been vaccinated in Zagreb,'' said Sostar, adding that they're still having no problem calling enough people to come to be vaccinated.

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, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Ivo Usmiani: We're Ready to Produce Vaccines, We Just Need License

March the 23rd, 2021 - Ivo Usmiani, the founder of Croatia's largest and by far most successful pharmaceutical company has spoken out as issues surrounding the coronavirus vaccine across the European Union continue to dominate, claiming that his company is more than ready to start producing vaccines, but they require the proper licensing first.

Problems with the delivery of the ordered amount of vaccines to each EU member state continue to be at the forefront of the ongoing pandemic. The advent of the vaccine was supposed to mark the end of the global pandemic, but with an embarrassingly slow process taking place across the EU, with smaller member states like Croatia suffering the most, it seems that the end is still nowhere near in sight.

Could Ivo Usmiani's highly successful pharmaceutical company step forward and propose a solution to Croatia's pressing coronavirus question? Potentially.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the founder and one of the largest shareholders of the Croatian pharmaceutical company Jadran-Galenski laboratorij (JGL), Ivo Usmiani, said that the Croatian pharmaceutical industry has the potential to produce vaccines, and that he is ready to start.

"We have sterile production and we could quickly start producing vaccines, either vector or mRNA types, but only on the condition that we get the license to do so from a vaccine manufacturer," Ivo Usmiani quite plainly told Vecernji list during a recent interview.

“We have the knowledge and the skills for the production of sterile pharmaceutical forms, as well as the proper technological platform for that. In Rijeka, we also have a Science Centre of Excellence with a dozen quality viral immunologists and molecular biotechnologists, as well as Professor Stipan Jonjic, all of whom deal with vector vaccines, and with whom we often cooperate and with whom we could achieve strong synergies,'' added Ivo Usmiani.

For current information on travel, border rules, measures, testing centres and all things coronavirus specific to Croatia, click here.

Monday, 15 March 2021

Croatian PM Expresses Sorrow for Having Not Ordered More Vaccines

March the 15th, 2021 - The Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic has expressed his sorrow for having not ordered more doses of the coronavirus vaccine and his frustration at how things are playing out.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, in an interview with the influential European news portal Politico, the Croatian PM said that looking at things from today's perspective, he is sorry that he did not order larger quantities of coronavirus vaccine for Croatia, but also explained how difficult it was to guess which pharmaceutical company would be the fastest to register and the most successful in mass production.

"In times of crisis, there´s always pressure to resolve something. But then comes the moment after the crisis and someone asks you: we have 4 million inhabitants, and you ordered vaccines for 14 million people; why?¨ the Croatian PM said in a frank and open conversation in Brussels on Friday. Plenkovic said that the idea of the ​​joint procurement of vaccines at the EU level, instead of individual procurement at the national level, was "very, very good", despite how badly it is going.

In that interview, the Croatian PM also spoke about the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, a document that all EU member state governments should send to the European Commission (EC) by the end of April so that they can start using the money from the new coronavirus recovery fund. When asked when Croatia could spend its first euro from this new fund, which is responsible for doubling the money that Croatia has had at its disposal through all other EU funds, Plenkovic answered that it will unfortunately not be this year.

"I have a feeling it will be early next year. The process is complicated. Unless it’s helicopter money, it’s very difficult and complex. You need a plan, a project, verification, a tender, implementation, documentation. We´ll gladly spend it if things go quicker, too, but if I´m being realistic… ", Politico writes, quoting the words of the Croatian PM. The Commission predicts that the first advance from the recovery fund could be paid out to EU member states in July, but that the situation as Plenkovic predicted will likely be the one which takes place. He gained that view after meetings with the leading individuals of the EC.

The Prime Minister also talked about whether the pandemic can slow down Croatia's path to the Eurozone, given that both the deficit and public debt are affected.

"The only thing I´m sorry about is the fiscal policy," said the Croatian PM, adding that we have "moved away from consolidation and sound public finances" in order to reduce the economic damage caused by the pandemic. Croatia therefore plans to use twice the amount of EU funds to boost its economic recovery, but also to return to the 2017-2019 framework, when my government had a budget surplus, the prime minister told Politico.

"To enter the Eurozone, we must meet the rules set out in the basic agreement. It´s very difficult to get an exemption from the contract ", said Plenkovic, referring to the situation that Vecernji list also wrote about in a recent interview with EC Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis. This is a situation in which all EU member states enjoy the benefits of temporarily suspended deficit and public debt rules, but the fact that these rules are currently suspended through the Stability and Growth Pact does not formally and legally suspend them as the Maastricht criteria spells out in that contract, which should be satisfied by any nation which wants to join the Eurozone.

Politico added that the Croatian PM, immediately after noting that it is difficult to get an exemption from the basic EU treaty, joked: "It´s probably possible, with a smart lawyer“ "

The Prime Minister concluded that his government still aims to bring Croatia into both the Eurozone and into Schengen by the end of its term, ie by the second half of 2024. That deadline is "difficult, but reasonable", assured the Prime Minister.

For more, follow our politics section.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Kurz Criticises EU Vaccination Process, Sticks Up for Croatian Cause

March the 14th, 2021 - The Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has spoken out against the EU´s unfair vaccination rollout, standing up for the Croatian cause as the country is repeatedly left in the minus in terms of the number of vaccine doses it is owed and deserves.

It has already been noted on several occasions in the Croatian media that Croatia is being left for dust as the vaccine rollout across the bloc continues. The country could have advanced far further than it has now and Kurz has some harsh words for the powers that be in the European Union and the European Commission as he sticks up for the Croatian cause among others, including Bulgaria.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Austrian Chancellor Kurz suddenly convened a press conference recently during which he fiercely criticised the distribution of the vaccine across the European Union, calling out countries who have got it better than others without having a justified reason for it.

He said that if this continues, the vaccination process in the European Union will not be over until the autumn, which would be absolutely dire for Croatia as it relies so heavily on tourism during the warm summer months. He cited Malta as a prime example, which, according to the current distribution rules, will receive three times more doses of the coronavirus vaccine than Bulgaria will by the summer in relation to its number of inhabitants, while the Netherlands will receive twice as many doses as Croatia by the summer, Kurz pointed out.

A clearly disillusioned Kurz warned that if things keep going on this way, some member states will be able to vaccinate their residents long before others, and he has firmly demanded much more transparency from the European Union, as 24sata reported.

Kurz sees the ¨secret negotiations¨ of individual EU member states as the reason for this deeply unfair vaccine distribution. He also called on the European Commission for transparency and asked to find out which countries have signed additional agreements, and why they are deviating from the European goal of the fair distribution of these all-important vaccines.

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