Epidemiologist Dijana Mayer: Third Vaccine Possible for Vulnerable Groups

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, epidemiologist Dijana Mayer of the Croatian Institute of Public Health told HRT recently that unfortunately, the situation is not good.

”This week we have an increase in the number of cases from 20 to 25 percent when compared to previous weeks. As the summer draws to a close, as people return to their places of residence and their jobs, the number of tests taken will grow, and we can see that we have an increase in the number of new cases. We have a more significant number of hospitalised people, ie patients with a severe clinical picture who need help in the form of respirators,” said epidemiologist Dijana Mayer.

“This is one of the important indicators for us because of the hospital system, we need to make sure it isn’t burdened abruptly. Hospitals are ready to accept patients, but it would be ideal if there were as few hospitalised coronavirus patients as possible,” she added.

She noted that more than 80 percent of those hospitalised with coronavirus, as well as patients with a very severe clinical picture and needing the help of a respirator were not vaccinated.

“That is why we’re appealing to people to please come and get vaccinated. The vaccine protects against severe forms of the disease developing. It doesn’t matter if we get sick and have a mild clinical picture, but it does matter if we develop severe pneumonia where we end up in intensive care, on a respirator,” she said.

Both doses of the coronavirus vaccine have successfully been given to 51 percent of the Croatian adult population. When asked if we would have to receive a third dose, epidemiologist Dijana Mayer said it was being discussed.

“Vaccination with a third dose is likely to start in early autumn and it will be aimed at older and more vulnerable groups of people, those who are immunocompromised and those with more severe chronic diseases,” she said.

When asked if the remarkably successful tourist season is to blame for the increase in the number of infected people, epidemiologist Dijana Mayer said that we can all be proud and satisfied with the tourist season.

“We’re happy that July and August went so well for us in terms of new patients. We’re satisfied with the number of tourists who came. Summer is a time to relax and socialise. Of course, any larger gatherings, where people weren’t vaccinated, was a potential hotbed of infection and it was a pool for new patients. We believe that the season will be extended for at least another week or two, maybe for even longer,” said the epidemiologist.

According to the ECDC corona map, Croatia is orange, and Mayer hopes that it will remain so.

“We believe that we’ll be able to vaccinate as many people as possible as they return home from being away for summer. People are also being vaccinated wherever they are on the coast. All counties will have vaccination points available from September the 1st, this means that all foreign residents, tourists and locals can come for vaccination. Each county bureau has several appointments and checkpoints. Those interested can easily get information and get their vaccine,” she said.

The vaccine is registered for children from 12 years of age and older is recommended for those who have severe chronic diseases, who are immunocompromised, and those who have malignant, cardiovascular and lung diseases. Children can be vaccinated by a competent school doctor.

“About 1,200 children up to the age of 14 have been vaccinated, and when looking at those aged 15-19, about 10,000 have had the vaccine. It isn’t a large number at the moment, but we’re very pleased that the parents are aware and have given their consent for their children to be vaccinated. The covid vaccine isn’t mandatory for anyone, not even for children, but it is recommended. Especially because children live in households with their grandparents, parents who have chronic diseases and children can be potentially dangerous for their family members,” she said.

From September the 1st, currently closed off parts of coffee bars and cafe will finally open, much to the delight of those who have been unable to work for months on end. Epidemiologist Dijana Mayer said that this decision was very much welcomed by all.

“It’s the first step in getting back to normal. We hope that people will continue to behave responsibly, that they will wear masks, it’s important to ventilate the premises and the owners will surely take care of that. There will be a disinfectant at the entrance to each cafe. It is in everyone’s interest that these closed parts of the cafe are able to work normally for as long as possible,” concluded epidemiologist Dijana Mayer.

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.


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