Friday, 22 October 2021

European Commissioner Urges Croatians to Get Vaccinated

ZAGREB, 22 Oct 2021 - European Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides visited a COVID-19 vaccination point in Zagreb on Friday with Health Minister Vili Beroš, telling Croatian citizens to get vaccinated and listen to scientists' messages, not messages on social media.

Get vaccinated to protect yourselves, your fellow citizens and so that hospitals are not full of patients again. That's a very clear message, based on science and the reality we know. Listen to scientists, not experts on social media, Kyriakides said.

We are not in the same situation as in 2020. Today we have a safe and effective vaccine which was approved for use in the EU. We have enough vaccines, but we must go forward. We don't want to have a pandemic of the unvaccinated, she added.

Croatia has vaccinated about 55% of its adult population against coronavirus. It must accelerate it because in the EU we have more than 75% of the population fully vaccinated. That's why it's necessary to accelerate vaccination as much as possible so that we don't have areas in the EU that are still unprotected, she said.

Minister Beroš commented on a letter by five members of the government's Scientific Council who distanced themselves from statements made by Council member Gordan Lauc.

He said that when members of a scientific forum individually commented on "expertly established facts" on social media, contrary to the forum's clearly stated views, such commenting "is damaging."

Beroš added that he said yesterday all he had to say about Lauc and the Council and that, as far as he knew, most Council members wanted to continue to be part in it.

They don't intend to leave the Council as that would send a bad message of inconsistency, he added.

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Thursday, 21 October 2021

Beroš: Some Scientific Council Members Do Harm But Have Right to Their Opinion

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš on Thursday criticized comments by a member of the government's Scientific Council, Gordan Lauc, related to vaccination, saying that Council members should send a clear message and be aware that their opinions could be harmful.

Beroš added, however, that Lauc has the right to his own opinion.

"It is bad when everyone has the same opinion. That would show that we made a mistake somewhere. But I am critical of what is made public. I appeal for that to not be the case and that everyone who participates in the Scientific Council be aware that by presenting their opinion on social networks they could be doing harm," Beroš told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

He underscored that that is why he personally appealed to members of the Council to send clear messages and not to confuse citizens.

Commenting on Lauc's post on Facebook that "the consensus of the Scientific Council is that vaccines are a poor protection against infection," Beroš said that everyone has the right to their own opinion but the common stance after the Council's meetings, which is a voluntary advisory body for the government, is made by a government representative.

Asked if Lauc would be ousted from the Council, Beroš said that Lauc is responsible for his own opinions but that he believes "individuals will realize that expressing their opinions is damaging and that that will change."

First step in reform is to combine public procurement

Beroš also spoke about the proposed reform of the health system which the ministry has sent to interested institutions for their ideas and proposals.

He announced that as part of the reform, regardless of amendments to the law on healthcare, the first step will be to combine public procurement in health institutions.

"A precondition to combine public procurement is their ownership structure because the ministry and state do not have the option to impose any obligation on county hospitals to join in combined public procurement. Combined public procurement is the first step we will deal with and certain steps have already been taken in that regard," he said, adding that the results would quickly be visible.

"Whether it will be necessary to centralize county institutions or not is still a matter of dispute. We will see what the final draft decision will be after consultations," he said.

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

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Minister Says Vaccination of Health Workers Stepped Up

ZAGREB, 7 Oct 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said at a government session on Thursday that the vaccination of medical staff against COVID-19 had been stepped up and that the current rate was 74%, with the highest increase in vaccination having been reported among nurses.

"Compared to a week ago, the share of unvaccinated staff has dropped by 2.4% and most of the newly vaccinated are nurses and other medical staff, which is an increase of 2.8%," Beroš said.

He commended medical institutions for the good organization of the introduction of COVID-19 certificates in the healthcare sector. So far 11,567 employees have been tested, 41 have been found to be positive for coronavirus, and 36 have refused to get tested, he said.

"By doing so we are not violating anyone's rights, quite the contrary. It is our duty to secure conditions for the safe treatment of every patient," said the minister.

Beroš said that his ministry had formed a commission to monitor the treatment of cancer patients in order to respond to the challenges of the post-COVID period as well as a task force to formulate amendments to the health insurance and health care laws to define new solutions regarding the availability of health care.

Speaking of the national day against breast cancer, the minister said that prevention programs had continued during the pandemic, albeit with a 10% drop.

He noted that Croatia had seen a drop in breast cancer cases of some 25% for the fifth consecutive year.

Irena Petrijevčanin, State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, said that the EU digital certificate based on a rapid antigen test was valid for 48 hours, one based on a PCR test for 72 hours, a certificate proving one's recovery from COVID-19 was valid for 180 days and one proving vaccination 365 days.

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

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

Monday, 27 September 2021

SOA: Pandemic Has Spurred Rise in Extremism, Radicalism

ZAGREB, 27 Sept 2021 - In its report for 2020-21, the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) says Croatia is a secure and stable democracy but warns about rising extremism and radicalism due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are witnessing the biggest pandemic in modern history which has caused unprecedented disruptions in everyday life and enormous damage to the global economy, SOA director Daniel Markić says in the introduction.

The pandemic has additionally increased extremism and radicalism, notably due to disinformation and conspiracy theories concerning Europe's response to the crisis and the effectiveness of democratic and liberal political and social systems, SOA's seventh report says.

Despite 20 years of international efforts in bringing democracy to the local society, the Taliban have taken power in Afghanistan.

SOA also monitored the increasing world dominance of geopolitical reshufflings and competitions as well as the strengthening of the economic, political, and value challengers to liberal democracies in the international order.

Climate change is increasingly showing its consequences, the report says.

Non-Western actors active in the southeastern neighborhood

It indicates that non-Western actors are active in Croatia's southeastern neighborhood and that reforms aimed at reaching European standards are slow.

The Western Balkans is still burdened by unfinished stabilization processes and unsolved inter-state and inter-ethnic issues as well as difficulties in achieving European integration due to insufficient reforms.

Unfavorable political and economic conditions facilitate the strengthening of radical and extreme tendencies as well as rifts within fragile societies, and social and inter-ethnic tensions may lead to incidents, notably in communities with unsolved inter-ethnic relations.

Bosnia and Herzegovina are still politically unstable, primarily due to the different views its constituent peoples have on the country's future constitutional and legal system.

Failure to reach a Serbian-Albanian agreement on Kosovo continues to contribute to instability in the region, and the social rift in Montenegro, where parties of anti-NATO, pro-Serb, and pro-Russian orientation have significant political power in relation to sovereignist, pro-Western forces, is causing particular uncertainty in the Western Balkans.

Promotion of the "Serbian world" additionally destabilizes delicate relations

In the regional context, some state officials in Serbia are promoting the concept of a "Serbian world" as a single Serbian political people and a single political and state union of all Serbs in Southeast Europe in which all Serbs should follow one political direction, that of Serbia.

The promotion of such ideas by Serbia's top officials is additionally destabilizing the delicate inter-ethnic and inter-state relations in Southeast Europe, notably in regards to BiH and Montenegro.

Organized crime in this part of Europe is additionally bolstered by the proliferation of illegal activities, while hotspots like Syria and Libya continue to represent sources of instability and threats.

Cyber technologies have facilitated large-scale cyberattacks aimed at stealing state and industry data, while illegal migration has increased enormously in Southeast Europe, with hundreds of thousands of migrants passing through.

Croatia target of dozens of state-sponsored cyberattacks in recent years

SOA warns that state-sponsored cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common in espionage. 

Those attacks are aimed at carefully selected targets that have been well studied in advance, and they are carried out by state-sponsored APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) groups that are closely linked to the security and intelligence systems of individual countries. Such cyber-attacks are primarily aimed at EU and NATO member states.

In recent years, Croatia has been the target of dozens of state-sponsored cyber attacks. The largest number of them were attempting to break into the information and communication systems of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.

SOA concludes that cyber resilience is becoming a key to national security in the digital era.

The past period was also marked by the creation, rapid expansion, and territorial defeat of the Islamic State, the largest terrorist organization in the world, and the agency has also been monitoring how the spread of democratic values in the world has been replaced by authoritarian tendencies with the return of Cold War tensions, espionage, and the spreading of fake news and propaganda.

There are currently no identified direct terrorist threats to Croatian institutions, citizens, or interest from terrorist groups, and the threat of organized attacks by terrorist groups is still low, but the possibility of a terrorist attack (primarily by independent attackers) can never be ruled out.

Although ISIL and Al Qaida have been significantly weakened and their capacities for carrying out external operations and attacks have been reduced, they remain a threat to Europe. In EU member states, the level of threat from Islamist terrorism varies from low in Central and Eastern European countries to medium or high in most Western European countries.

Many steps forward in the security sphere

Since its first public report, SOA has also followed a number of developments in the security sphere.

EU and NATO membership has allowed us to multiply our capabilities and strengthen our security mechanisms and links to other democratic security and intelligence systems; European countries are getting closer to confronting common security threats; Croatian society and institutions have confirmed their stability and efficiency in many crises situations, the report says.

In addition to that, new infrastructure projects have strengthened energy and national security, SOA says, noting that they are building a new generation of employees through public calls.

All those changes show that security dynamics in the modern world are extremely fast and often unpredictable, new and non-traditional security threats are emerging, and the role of timely and accurate information and assessments is becoming crucial, SOA says.

The report published on the SOA website also stresses that there is no indication of significant destabilization for Croatia, even at such a challenging time and in such a dynamic security environment.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Croatian Children Over 12 Await General Vaccination Recommendation

September 23, 2021 - The coronavirus has broken out in Zagreb schools, and more and more Croatian children are being vaccinated at the Fair, but when will the general recommendation be for those over 12 years old?

Tportal.hr reports today that the number of people suffering from covid is growing, especially among young people. ''In the first three days of this week we have almost 100 new patients in primary and 88 in secondary schools in Zagreb'', said Tatjana Petričević Vidović from the School Medicine Department of the Institute of Public Health 'Andrija Štampar', and commented for HRT on the vaccination of Croatian children.

''Yesterday there were 427 newly infected people in Zagreb. The numbers are rising, we are on the ascending arm of the fourth wave. Epidemiologists say that we are not close to the peak, this can be seen from the daily figures on the increased number of tests, and the data can also be seen in schools in Zagreb. We have an increase in infected children, with a return to school and indoor spaces there is an increase. In the first week we had 80 new cases in primary schools, 99 in secondary schools, and in the second week 229 in primary and 203 in secondary schools. In the first three days of this week, we have almost 100 in primary and 88 in secondary. It is obvious that the number is growing and what we notice is that the virus is spreading much faster within the class so we have classes that have symptoms in a day or two and tests confirm the coronavirus in 15 out of 30 students. The delta strain is spreading much faster and we are witnessing that'', said Dr. Tatjana Petričević Vidović from the Department of School Medicine of the Teaching Institute for Public Health 'Andrija Štampar' in the HRT show on Studio 4.

She called on people who have not been vaccinated to do so, ''it is absolutely a way out of this situation'', she pointed out.

''Regarding the vaccination of Croatian children, we vaccinate children over 12 years of age, in accordance with the recommendations of regulatory agencies and our CNIPH. Children are vaccinated with the vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna. So far, expert recommendations exist for the population of children suffering from chronic diseases or other conditions, for whom covid infection could significantly endanger their health. Of course, healthy children can also be vaccinated and we see that, and parents bring their children to the Fair. That is what we wanted to see, that parents and children are vaccinated together, but also grandparents who have not been vaccinated'', said Petričević Vidović.

When it comes to vaccinating Croatian children over the age of 12, she said there is no mass recommendation to vaccinate healthy children. Vaccination can be carried out individually.

'We have not yet embarked on mass vaccination because the benefits and possible side effects that have been reported are still being weighed, I must say. That is valid, the research is ongoing and I hope that some decision will be made in the foreseeable future'', said Petričević Vidović for HRT.

Commenting on the increase in the number of new patients in schools, she said that she is constantly called upon to maintain distance, but that is difficult. ''These measures must be implemented in the school. Self-isolation is still necessary when we have a newly ill child in the classroom. We try to be as sparing as possible and as few children as possible go into self-isolation. But when the infection spreads in the class and when we have two or more sick children, then self-isolation must be determined for the whole class'', explained Petričević Vidović.

For example, four classes in a school had to go into self-isolation because of one infected student, and she said that children must all be tested before going to school to eliminate the infection before the trip.

''But in school children are in contact with each other, so everyone has to self-isolate. It is not a popular method, but it is still needed given the state of the epidemic and given the fact that we do not have a high enough vaccination rate of the general population'', she said.

She also commented on postcovid in children who had no symptoms during the illness.

''The disease in children passes in most cases with a mild clinical course. Fortunately, complications of multiinflammatory syndrome are rare. Long postcovids with symptoms of weakness, long fatigue are monitored, concentration disorders are mentioned, but it takes more time and research and we hope that there will be no more pronounced consequences in children and young people'', Petričević Vidović told HRT.

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

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Beroš: Of 117 COVID Patients Put On Ventilators Lately, 110 Unvaccinated

ZAGREB, 2 Sept 2021 - In the last 10 weeks, there have been 117 COVID-19 patients on ventilators, and 110 of them were not vaccinated against this infection, Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday.

In the last 24 hours, 9,989 coronavirus tests have been performed and 8% or 798 have turned out to be positive; 11 COVID patients have died, bringing the COVID-19-related death toll to 8,349, the national coronavirus crisis management team stated on Thursday morning.

Currently, there are 3,943 active cases, and of them, 440 are receiving hospital treatment, including 53 who are on ventilators.

In the week from 23 to 30 August, 4,140 people tested positive for the virus, and 86.16% of them had not been vaccinated.

Hospitals are increasing their capacity for COVID patients in line with epidemiological developments, he said.

The minister informed the government that the average age of hospitalized patients in the fourth wave of the pandemic was lower than in the third wave. The share of children in hospitalized COVID patients has tripled, he noted.

More than 8 in 10 doctors, 6 in 10 nurses vaccinated

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 adult citizens, have been vaccinated.

Until 30 August, 83.17% of doctors and 60.84% of nurses and medical technicians got vaccinated.

Broken down by age cohort, the share of persons above 65 who have received at least one shot is 69.5% and 65.8% of them have fully been immunized.

Treatment of COVID-19 and sick leave have cost HRK 2.7 billion 

A day of hospital treatment of a COVID patient costs HRK 11,000 and the average duration of hospitalization is 20 days. Hospitalization and sick leave for COVID patients have cost the state HRK 2.7 billion so far, which is equivalent to half the value of Pelješac Bridge, Beroš said.

He warned that if the trend of unvaccinated people catching the virus continued, one could expect a further rise in hospitalizations and new mutations.

(€1 = HRK 7.5) 

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

Thursday, 26 August 2021

8 in 10 Hospitalized COVID Patients Unvaccinated, Croats Urged to Get Vaccinated

ZAGREB, 26 August 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš informed the government on Thursday that the lion's share of COVID patients admitted to hospitals were not vaccinated, and called on the Croatians to get vaccinated.

"From 16 to 22 August, of the total number of those hospitalized patients, 78.7% were not vaccinated (against coronavirus), and records of hospitals show that from 16 to 24 August, of 3,216 people who tested positive to coronavirus, 86.41% had not been vaccinated," Beroš said.

He underscored that the numbers prove the victory of common sense, and also, on the other hand, a blow to efforts of health care workers to encourage vaccine-hesitant people to get a jab.

"We can see an accelerated rise in new case numbers, in hospitalizations, and in the number of people placed on ventilators. In a week, the number of hospitalizations has increased by 46.7%, and the number of patients on ventilators by 72%," the minister said, adding that this could pave the way for a new wave of the epidemic.

He urged the Croatians to get vaccinated and thus contribute to efforts to make sure that the autumn would be calm.

The minister said that the delta variant of coronavirus was fully dominant in the country.

Decisions on new epidemiological rules in coming weeks

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković also called on vaccine-hesitant people to be inoculated and appealed for the elderly to get vaccinated.

Concerning anti-epidemic rules, Plenković said that decisions on new measures could be expected in the coming weeks.

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.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

KBC Osijek Warns Unvaccinated Employees to Pay Compensation if a Patient Becomes Infected

August 24, 2021 - Through an internal letter to its employees, KBC Osijek has made it clear to those not vaccinated that, should a patient become infected with COVID-19 and sue the hospital, they will ask those workers to pay compensation.

Zadarski.hr reports that the management of KBC Osijek sent a letter to employees warning them that in case of potential lawsuits of patients related to COVID-19, if the court decides in favor of the plaintiff, there is a possibility that compensation will be paid by an employee who was not vaccinated and infected the patient.

"If doctors or nurses are not vaccinated and the patient becomes infected with covid-19, then it can be demonstrated that not all the protection measures available to the health facility have been taken. If the hospital has to pay compensation, the same amount can be claimed from of an unvaccinated worker who infected a patient, since the hospital as an employer enabled vaccination”, the internal letter reads.

Namely, the letter was created after the first request for compensation was submitted, at the Zagreb Clinical Hospital, where the family of the deceased 84-year-old asked for a settlement with the hospital. As Jutarnji was the first to report, they believe that the deceased came to the hospital negative for covid, became ill, and eventually died. They demanded compensation of HRK 632,000 and paid attorney's fees, and the hospital refused the settlement because they claim that there is no evidence that she became infected in the hospital. But it is still unknown whether the family will file a lawsuit.

The director of KBC Osijek, Željko Zubčić, said that the notification sent to hospital employees was not a kind of pressure on those who were not vaccinated to do so, but their obligation to inform employees about potential scenarios and consequences of possible lawsuits.

''Considering that the first compensation claim was filed against the hospital in Croatia, we once again warned our employees about responsible behavior but also informed them about what is happening, and about the potential risks if such a situation occurs'', said Zubčić.

KBC Osijek, he notes, started vaccinating employees on December 27, 2020, and provided vaccines for all who want to be vaccinated, as well as protective equipment for working with patients, all for the purpose of maximum protection of both employees and patients.

''We believe that it is OK to inform employees that the hospital has the right to claim possible damages from employees, of course, if it is proven in court that it did not comply with protection measures and thus caused damage to the employer'', said the director Zubčić and added that KBC Osijek has received no such lawsuit.

However, he states that they have one or two cases of claiming documentation from law firms, which means a lawsuit may be prepared.

Do other hospitals follow?

''Of course, this also needs to be proven because it can happen that patients come with a negative PCR test, but they can be incubated, which means they can bring coronavirus to the KBC because the incubation can last two days, but also ten to 14 days. This is all proven later. We believe that such situations will be rare, but we must warn our employees about them'', concluded Zubčić.

Krešimir Luetić, president of the Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK), states that they have clearly advocated for the vaccination of all doctors and all health professionals from the beginning.

''On July 21, the Executive Board of the Croatian Medical Chamber adopted a conclusion that, due to the unsatisfactory level of vaccination, it considers the introduction of mandatory vaccination of employees in Croatian health care to be justified. HLK believes that the state health administration should take responsibility and make a decision on mandatory vaccination of health workers'', says Luetic and adds that calculating, not making decisions, and shifting responsibility to lower levels is not a successful way to fight coronavirus, nor will vaccination of all health professionals.

''The responsibility of health professionals is twofold. We are not only responsible for our own health, but also for the health of all our patients'', Luetić points out, and Mario Gazić, the president of the Chamber of Nurses, agrees with him.

''Yesterday we once again sent a letter calling for vaccination. Among healthcare professionals, realistically, this should not be a topic of discussion at all. Therefore, I do not consider the letter from KBC Osijek to be at all unusual or inadequate''.

Although KBC Osijek was the first to present this notice to the employees, this does not mean that other hospitals will not be guided by it.

Davor Vagić, director of KBC Sestre milosrdnice, says that he supports his colleague from Osijek because everyone in health care should be vaccinated, except those who, for objective reasons, are not allowed to receive the vaccine.

''The legal services of hospitals should give an answer to this question, and doctors and nurses know that they are doing a job in which they have to protect themselves and patients'', Vagić points out.

The assistant director of KBC Zagreb, Milivoj Novak, also shares this opinion.

''It is a question for the legal service, but everyone should bear some kind of responsibility. It is clear that vaccinated people can sometimes transmit the disease, but then we know that we gave our best and used all currently available methods of protection'', concludes Novak.

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.

Saturday, 7 August 2021

Bjelovar, Požega, and Šibenik First to Launch Vaccinations at Croatian Pharmacies

August 7, 2021 - Vaccinations at Croatian pharmacies could be a reality in three Croatian cities by the end of next week. 

"At three pharmacies, one each in Bjelovar, Požega, and Šibenik, the vaccination of citizens against Covid-19 could start by the end of next week, and other pharmacies will join them as soon as they are organized and have personnel ready for the job. In addition, a dozen more pharmacies have informed us that they have found doctors who are willing to vaccinate at pharmacies so that they could get involved in this work very soon," announced the president of the Croatian Chamber of Pharmacists, Ana Soldo, as reported by Jutarnji List

She adds that technical, more precisely IT problems regarding entering the system for those who will be vaccinated in pharmacies have just been solved. Namely, all pharmacies are connected to CEZIH, i.e., the health information system that enables data entry on the vaccinated person.

Soldo emphasizes that at least 40 to 50 pharmacies across Croatia have already announced they will be included in vaccinations. Therefore, the problem of other vaccination teams in which there must be a doctor should be solved after August 15.

"According to the current law, pharmacists are not allowed to vaccinate citizens, and therefore mobile teams must be formed to come to pharmacies. Of course, everything could have already started, but the current problems are doctors' vacations. But one of the possibilities is to include retired doctors who have already contacted us and could start vaccinations immediately.

We have resolved the doubts about their inclusion in the vaccination, i.e., they will do it through our connection with CEZIH, which means that all those vaccinated at pharmacies will be immediately on the vaccination platform," says Soldo. She adds that Covid certificates will be issued to those vaccinated. Those vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson will receive it immediately after the first dose, and others after the second dose of the vaccine.

After first announcing the news, there are more and more inquiries from citizens who would like to be vaccinated at their nearest pharmacy—namely the elderly who have a problem going to vaccine points in big cities.

Everyone who intends to be vaccinated at pharmacies will have to announce their arrival and will be able to choose the vaccine. Namely, it is known that, for example, there are six doses in one bottle of Pfizer, so six citizens who want this vaccine should be vaccinated in one day at a pharmacy.

Pharmacies will also be provided with an 'observation area' for ten minutes after vaccination due to possible allergic reactions, for which mobile teams will be equipped with anti-shock therapy as well as at health centers and public health institutes when organizing vaccinations.

Payment has also been resolved, which means that those who will participate in vaccinations at pharmacies will be paid.

"Like all other teams, these mobile teams that will be vaccinating at pharmacies will be paid in the same way and the same amount by the HZZO," says the director of the HZZO, Lucian Vukelic.

The president of HLJK says that it is illogical that pharmacists in Croatia cannot vaccinate because, during the pandemic in other countries, their employees vaccinated a large number of citizens.

"We will try to solve this problem by the end of the year with legal changes because pharmacies are interested, as evidenced by the fact that as many as 180 pharmacies in Croatia applied for flu vaccination last season. Given that pharmacies are very accessible to citizens, I believe it will solve the issue because we will thus achieve greater vaccination not only against Covid-19 but also against influenza, as evidenced by the example of the United Kingdom where pharmacists perform a large part of the vaccinations," says Soldo.

She adds that the recent news that pharmacies can issue Covid certificates has shown that they should have their place in greater access to health care.

Given that we cannot be satisfied with the vaccination rate against Covid-19, especially among those over 80, vaccination in pharmacies is an opportunity to improve these figures, i.e., to protect the most vulnerable part of the population against an epidemiologically demanding autumn. In addition to vaccination at pharmacies, this means that mobile teams should also be hired to vaccinate the elderly, immobile, and people with limited mobility in their homes.

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

Friday, 30 July 2021

COVID-19 Response Team: Share of Infections with Delta Coronavirus Variant Rising

ZAGREB, 30 July 2021- The results of the latest sequencing of samples sent on 20 July show that 13% of the samples were infected with the Alpha coronavirus variant while 84% were infected with the Delta variant, meaning that the share of the new variant in Croatia has continued to grow, the COVID-19 response team has said.

Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Friday that according to the latest map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Croatia remained in the orange zone, recording the smallest daily increase in infections in relation to its competition.

"That fact strengthens our status as the safest tourist destination. That gives us reason for satisfaction, but we must remain cautious," he said.

There are over one million tourists in Croatia, which carries an increased risk of disease transmission, the minister said, calling for compliance with restrictions and for vaccination.

He again called on elderly citizens to get vaccinated, noting that mobile teams had been formed to visit elderly people at home and remind them of the importance of getting vaccinated.

Asked if vaccination would be made obligatory for some sectors, Beroš said that that was not likely at the moment and that what prevailed was the proposal for the smart use of COVID-19 certificates to enable work also for people who had not been vaccinated.

Claim for damages over infection, death during hospital treatment

The minister said that for the time being there were no lawsuits against medical institutions over infection with COVID-19 during hospital treatment but he confirmed that a claim for damages had been filed against the KBC Zagreb hospital by a family who believed that their member had died in hospital infected with COVID-19.

KBC Zagreb officials have said that COVID-19 restrictions and professional rules are complied with at the hospital.

"As for whether lawsuits can be expected, probably yes. I can only repeat that since the start of the pandemic we have acted in line with recommendations by the public health institute for safe work in hospitals," the minister said.

Official: Vaccinated people can transmit infection, should wear masks until vaccination rate is high 

Reporters asked the head of Zagreb's "Dr. Fran Mihaljević" hospital for infectious diseases, Alemka Markotić, to explain research showing that people who have been vaccinated can spread infection with the Delta coronavirus variant equally fast as people who have not been immunised.

She said that this was not unusual as a person who had been vaccinated was protecting themselves but could carry the virus, which was why experts remained cautious and were not saying that those who had been vaccinated should no longer wear masks.

Public Health Institute (HZJZ) head Krunoslav Capak said that epidemiological rules for the 5 August commemoration of Operation Storm had still not been defined and that they would be known on Monday, and as for the Alka tournament in Sinj, he said that a proposal had been made for participants to have COVID-19 certificates and for the number of attendees to be half the envisaged seating capacity.

The COVID-19 response team will hold its next news conference in three weeks' time, on the condition there are no extraordinary situations.

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