Branko Kolaric: Could Croatia Place Restrictions on Unvaccinated People?

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian Institute of Public Health says that by the end of January and through February, a good part of the elderly, vulnerable and patients with chronic health complaints and other diseases who are in the second group are expected to be vaccinated. This will then be immediately followed by the third phase, so everyone else should be there by the time spring rolls around.

A member of the Government’s Scientific Council, epidemiologist Branko Kolaric, said more about this in Dnevnik Nova TV.

As he said, Croatia is currently vaccinating people with a small number of doses. “At this rate, we should be able to vaccinate about fifty percent of the population in two years. Now the limiting factor is the number of doses we have available. We hope to register some more vaccines soon and when we get more doses, then we’ll be able to speed up the pace of vaccination. Now we’re still under one percent of people in Croatia vaccinated, but it is still at the level of the European Union,’’ said Branko Kolaric.

Regarding KOHOM’s proposal to vaccinate people in large areas, he says that this is one of the possibilities when there are enough vaccines available in the country.

“Once we have a large number of doses available, this is one of the possibilities so that we can get people vaccinated faster. That will only be when we will have hundreds of thousands of doses of vaccine at our disposal,’’ Branko Kolaric explained.

Germany is now going into a stricter lockdown, and Branko Kolaric hopes that this will not happen to Croatia. “We’re on the descent of the second wave. All countries are now preparing for the third wave, which is associated with the festive period and more indoor socialising. We’ll have to see how it develops in our country. At the moment, the situation is favourable, epidemiologically speaking – we’re seeing the effects of the measures we’ve introduced,’’ said Branko Kolaric.

There have been several cases of coronavirus infection occurring even after vaccination against the disease, but Branko Kolaric explained that such people didn’t contract the disease from the vaccine.

“I’d like to just mention that when someone gets vaccinated and still gets the disease, they didn’t get the disease from the vaccine. That’s impossible, but it does mean that the person was incubating the novel coronavirus at the time of their vaccination. The vaccine teaches our body how to fight the virus and that takes some time, the first effects should take about ten days to two weeks. It’s therefore still possible to contract the virus during that first week. People who received the first dose and became ill, receive the second dose on a schedule if their isolation is over. If not, then they get it after the end of their isolation,’’ explained Branko Kolaric.

“We’re now thinking about how we can get our hands on enough doses of the vaccine. We have a great interest, people who would readily get vaccinated are calling us,’’ he added.

Restrictions for those who are not vaccinated…

But the question arises – will there be restrictions for those who don’t get vaccinated? 

“Will there be any restrictions? In my opinion, yes, I think that’s possible. Some countries and companies will introduce that. Travel companies, airlines and the like said they would ask for their passengers to be vaccinated,’’ Branko Kolaric said.

When it comes to the anti-epidemic measures, he says it is difficult to say how long they’ll need to stay in place. “We’re monitoring the number of cases and the share of positives on a daily basis. This is going to remain as it is until January the 31st and after that we’ll see what the situation will be like,’’ he said, adding that he is optimistic about Croatia’s tourist season this year despite all.

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