“Croatia is making serious preparations for inoculating the population against coronavirus, and we have booked vaccines doses for more than 50% of our population”, head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) Krunoslav Capak announced on Wednesday.
He added that Croatia had previously concluded an agreement with AstraZeneca for 2.7 million doses.
Capak said he expected the first supplies to be delivered in the first quarter of 2021.
Croatia has also ordered 900,000 doses from Johnson & Johnson and concluded a contract with Pfizer for their vaccine.
“We have ordered one million doses. However, we do not know how the EU will distribute vaccines and how many doses will be given to us”, Capak told a news conference in Zagreb on Wednesday.
He added that vaccination against COVID-19 will be voluntary, while administering doses to vulnerable and strategic groups of citizens will be free of charge.
Citizens aged above 65, patients with underlying conditions, medical professionals and workers in the welfare sector will be given priority in the inoculation schedule.
The European Commission approved a contract with German pharmaceutical firm BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer on Wednesday, guaranteeing that the EU would receive 200 million doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccine and an additional 100 million dozes upon its verification.
Over the past 24 hours, Croatia has registered 2,597 new outbreaks and 28 coronavirus-related deaths, as the national COVID-19 response team announced on Wednesday. The number of active cases in Croatia stands at 15,513, 1,545 COVID patients are hospitalized, and 178 of them are on respirators.
Since February 25, when Croatia registered its first coronavirus infection, a total of 72,840 people have contracted the novel coronavirus, 893 of them have died, and 56,434 have recovered, including 1,580 in the last 24 hours. Currently, 32,225 people remain in self-isolation.
To date, 582,170 people have been tested for coronavirus, including 9,681 in the last 24 hours. Capak said that, at the moment, the number of new cases was rising at a weekly rate of four to five percent, down from the previous 80% to 110% leap on a weekly basis. /ibna