Thursday, 20 May 2021

HZJZ: One in Three Adults Vaccinated

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Croatia Logs 2,904 New COVID-19 Cases, 44 Deaths

ZAGREB, 28 April, 2021 - In the past 24 hours a total of 12,032 coronavirus tests were conducted in Croatia, with 2,904 returning positive while 44 people died in that period, the national COVID-19 response team said on Wednesday.

There are currently 14,604 active cases, with 2,278 patients who are in hospital, including 253 on ventilators.

The number of positive cases in the number of tests done in the past 24 hours is slightly above 24%, around 5% down from last Wednesday.

Since the first case of the disease was reported in February 2020, 327,737 people have contracted it, and 7,001 have died.

A total of 306,132 people have recovered, including 1,586 in the past 24 hours.

To date a total of 1,784,547 persons have been tested.

As of 27 April 812,984 doses of COVID vaccines have been administered, inoculating 639,564 people.

Of that number, 463,710 people have received the first dose and 173,420 have received both doses, while for 2,434 people it is not known which of the two doses they have received.

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

 

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Croatian PM Andrej Plenković Says European Commission Intends to Ramp up Pfizer Vaccine Deliveries in Q2

ZAGREB, 14 April, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that the European Commission in cooperation with the EU member-states was trying to ramp up the deliveries of Pfizer COVID vaccines in the second quarter of 2021.

Plenković informed his cabinet that earlier in the day he had talked with the EC President Ursula von der Leyen and that she informed him of the plans about a faster Pfizer COVID vaccine rollout in the second quarter of 2021.

The relevant information will soon be discussed by other relevant bodies.

Plenković called on the Croatians to comply with anti-epidemic measures and to behave responsibly.

He warned that for eight consecutive weeks, Croatia had been registering a rise in the number of confirmed infections with the novel coronavirus and in the number of related deaths.

We are trying to catch up with the inoculation rate and curb the spread of the virus, he added.

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

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Reporters One of Priority Groups for Vaccination

ZAGREB, 13 April, 2021 - The Culture and Media Ministry has suggested including reporters and media workers in priority groups for vaccination against COVID-19 due to the risk of infection being higher than for the rest of the population, the Croatian Journalists Association (HND) said on Tuesday.

According to a notification from the ministry, reporters can express interest in being put on the list of priority vaccinations.

The HND will be collecting data from interested reporters until midnight 14 April, the association said, noting that expression of interest will in no way affect interest in vaccination expressed previously with one's family doctor or via the cijepise.zdravlje.hr platform. Previous registration for vaccination should not be cancelled until the moment an invitation to vaccination arrives from the Croatian Public Health Institute, the HND said.

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

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Croatia Joins List of Countries Open to Vaccinated Travelers

April 3, 2021 - As the Afar travel magazine reports, Croatia, Ecuador, Montenegro, and Iceland are the latest additions to the list of countries open to vaccinated travelers.

It’s no joke. As of April 1, anyone can travel to Croatia if they present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate (the final dose must be administered at least 14 days before arrival); can present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Croatia (if it’s a rapid test, a second test must be taken 10 days after the initial test if your stay in Croatia is longer than 10 days); or were diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 no more than 180 days prior to arrival. Children under seven years of age are exempt.

The U.S. Embassy in Croatia reminds travelers that tourists who meet the above requirements will only be permitted to enter Croatia if they provide evidence that they have paid for their Croatia accommodations in advance and in full prior to arrival at the border.

The European country of Croatia is the latest destination to open to travelers vaccinated against COVID-19 as vaccine rollouts continue in the United States and abroad.

Effective April 1, anyone who presents a COVID-19 vaccine certificate can enter Croatia, according to the latest update from the Croatian Government’s Ministry of Interior. You can also enter with a negative COVID test result or if you have recovered from COVID-19.

The move is the latest in a series of updated government policies - issued by countries that include Belize, Ecuador, Iceland, and Seychelles - that have in recent weeks given permission to vaccinated travelers to visit. The new protocols typically allow vaccinated travelers to bypass otherwise mandatory quarantine and testing measures. There is an ongoing debate about whether vaccinations should be a passport to entry for travelers - in many cases countries also have alternative protocols for unvaccinated travelers, such as the option to submit to a COVID-19 testing requirement.

Check Total Croatia's guide to COVID-19 in Croatia for daily updates about coronavirus, as well as the latest travel rules in Croatia.

 

Friday, 26 March 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Two Opposition MPs Accuse Gov't of Vaccination Delays

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Croatia Expects Digital Green Certificates to be Ready by June, Says official

ZAGREB, 23 March, 2021 - Croatia expects a law to be adopted and technical preparations to be completed by June to enable the introduction of a digital green certificate proving that its holder has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has recovered from it, or has tested negative, an official said on Tuesday.

Andreja Metelko-Zgombić, the State Secretary for Europe, today took part in an informal conference of European affairs ministers, at which she stressed the importance of ensuring a stable, predictable and faster delivery of vaccines so that the common EU goal of inoculating 70% of the EU population by summer could be achieved.

She stressed that member-states should be equal in vaccine distribution, and that it was necessary to have a balanced approach to vaccine distribution as some countries currently have a lower vaccination rate due to delays in vaccine delivery, a statement said.

Metelko-Zgombić said that Croatia welcomed the European Commission's proposal for the introduction of digital green certificates that would facilitate free and safe travel within the EU.

She said that Zagreb "expects the adoption of the relevant legislative proposal and completion of technical preparations according to plan, by June, so that certificates could start to be used as soon as possible."

PM says Pfizer vaccine delivery to be stepped up

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said today that work was underway on transferring the delivery of some of the vaccine supplies from the fourth to the second quarter so that the dynamic of vaccination could be stepped up before summer and that the vaccine in question was expected to be the Pfizer vaccine.

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

Monday, 22 March 2021

311,448 Croatians Vaccinated, 79,209 With Both Doses

ZAGREB, 22 March, 2021 - By Sunday, 390,657 doses of vaccine had been used with a total of 311,448 people vaccinated, including 232,239 of those who received one dose of vaccine and 79,209 who received both doses, Croatia's  COVID-19 crisis management team reported on Monday.

Medical regulator HALMED has so far received 1,896 reports of suspected side effects of vaccines against COVID-19, of which 1,064 for Pfizer, 108 for Moderna and 722 for AstraZeneca. In two cases it was not clear which vaccine caused side effects. 

The HZJZ institute head, Krunoslav Capak, said that the vaccination process was continuing according to plan, adding that the first third of the second phase of vaccination, covering persons older than 65 years and chronic patients, had been completed. He said that younger people would be prioritised after the completion of the second phase. 

He recalled that Croatia had so far ordered 8.7 million doses of vaccine from different manufacturers, adding that greater deliveries were expected in the second quarter of the year.

Average age of infected people down from 49.9 to 42.5 years

The average age of infected people has decreased from 49.9 to 42.5 years, Capak said.

The director of Zagreb's Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotić, said that the number of hospitalisations was increasing in Zagreb and Split, and that most of those hospitalised were aged between 50 and 60 years.

Asked by the press about the possibility of reinfection with COVID-19, Markotić cited a Danish study published in The Lancet journal showing that the protection against reinfection was about 79%.

However, people older than 65 were only about 47% protected on average. The conclusion is that people older than 65 years should be revaccinated even if they have recovered from COVID-19 because the risk of their reinfection is high. "People older than 65 are definitely more at risk," Markotić said.

Capak said that there were reports of several cases of reinfection in Croatia, but that their symptoms were mild.

Responding to a question about COVID passports for people who were vaccinated with the Chinese or Russian vaccine, the head of the national response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said that talks had only just begun on issuing interoperable certificates at EU level to facilitate travel and that the situation in this regard would be clearer later this month.

"Some of the EU countries have taken the view that such certificates should be issued only for vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency. Croatia is not in that group of countries, but talks on this are still ongoing," Božinović said.

If the purpose of such certificates is to facilitate travel for those who have been tested, vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19, Božinović hopes that this will not put too tight restrictions on the tourism sector because most EU countries started by vaccinating elderly people, who are in a more advantageous position that young people as far as travel is concerned.

This issue should be dealt with by early June, but that does not mean that countries like Croatia will not do all they can to alleviate the situation in the tourism sector by then, Božinović said.

As for demands by some of the counties in Croatia for stricter measures, Božinović said that it was yet to be seen what local and county response teams would decide this week. He ruled out the possibility of passes being introduced for inter-regional travel in Croatia for the Easter holidays. He said that the aim was to contain the epidemic in the counties with higher incidence rates, adding that steps had already been taken to inspect compliance with the measures in place.

Friday, 19 March 2021

Croatia Establishes Contact with Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturers

ZAGREB, 19 March, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Thursday that Croatia had contacted two Chinese COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers and that talks were at at an initial stage, while Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that the situation with AstraZeneca's vaccine proved that caution was important.

"We have established contact with manufacturers of the Chinese vaccine, or more precisely, with manufacturers of two types of Chinese vaccine. We have been given some preliminary information and talks will continue," Beroš told a press conference after a cabinet meeting.

He said that all important aspects of the vaccines needed to be discussed, such as safety, efficiency and quality.

Plenković said that the situation with AstraZeneca "is more than clear proof of how one needs to be cautious when placing a vaccine on the market."

"We are now talking about the credibility of a vaccine that has passed clearance and filters in America, the United Kingdom and the European Union. What would we do with vaccines that have none of these credentials? We have to take that into account," the prime minister warned.

Easter passes not discussed

As regards the deterioration in the epidemiological situation and possible passes for Easter, Plenković said that no one talked about such passes and that they were not an option.

He said that Croatia had now ordered more vaccine from Pfizer than from AstraZeneca, but added that at this point no one knew at what rate vaccines would be distributed from 1 May onward. "If a negative scenario happens with AstraZeneca, we are already in the process of ordering more vaccine from Pfizer to offset that."

He said he was confident that progress would be made on a corrective mechanism for vaccine distribution because "people understand that it is not countries that are responsible for this situation."

Asked if he was satisfied with how the EU handled vaccine procurement, Plenković said there was no doubt that the contracts could have been better written in terms of the pace of vaccine delivery. As for people's scepticism about the safety of vaccines, he said it was also important what the media said about them.

"We need to respect authorities on this matter, and our authorities are the World Health Organisation, the European Medicines Agency and the Croatian Agency for Medicines and Medicinal Devices. These are regulators. If a vast majority of professionals from a large number of countries think that this is all right, then we should use that for guidance. That's the most logical and best approach we can take," the prime minister said.

Additional encouragement to regional approach

The head of the national coronavirus response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said that the team would unveil guidelines for the Adriatic counties on Friday as an additional encouragement to the county response teams because the incidence rate differed from county to county.

"We do not think it is time for horizontal measures, especially not in those counties, and there are more of them in the north of the country, where the epidemiological situation is good," Božinović said.

He noted that county response teams had been invited from the outset to propose tighter restrictions because their epidemiologists and professionals on the ground know where a coronavirus hotspot has emerged and what has caused it.

"This regional approach is not just an encouragement, but also a preparation for what is and what will become an integral part of the EU policy for the tourist season," Božinović said, calling for increased inspections of compliance with the restrictions in place and for self-discipline.

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

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