Sali on Dugi Otok Once Led in Infections, Now it Leads in Vaccination Rate

Lauren Simmonds

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As Morski writes, according to recent data published by the Croatian Institute of Public Health, one municipality in Zadar County is the absolute record holder in terms of the vaccination of its residents. In Sali on Dugi otok, a municipality with an official census of 1,900 people, 64.3 percent of them have already received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

At the beginning of the pandemic, it didn’t look like that, quite the opposite in fact. After several group celebrations and one birthday, the infection rate escalated, and the number of those infected in Sali rose to as many as 39 in one single day. Every other house in Sali had its residents put into self-isolation back in those days, writes local portal

In addition, they also had a priest, Tomislav Vlahovic, who preached from the altar that ”coronavirus doesn’t exist and that true believers cannot be infected”, which is absolutely mind-boggling to say the least. He refused to listen to the instructions of the Archbishop and to implement the measures of the Civil Protection Directorate, and he encouraged others to follow his path. Some people unfortunately even listened to him. That’s why just one year ago, the church choir became the second major focus in this small town.

”Coronavirus really went hard here in Sali, people saw first hand how dangerous and contagious it is. Then, when that first wave subsided, the tourist season came from which most of the islanders live, so then they started to act very responsibly. We were among the first to have a testing point on the island. Of the 500 tourists tested before leaving, none were positive. As for the islanders, ten days ago we had five to six cases a day, now that number is between two and three positive people. So, despite all these black statistics, the number of infected people in Sali is declining,” said the mayor of Sali, Zoran Morovic, who personally, together with the local island Civil Protection Directorate and medical staff, got involved in the vaccination campaign.

An uncomfortable situation unfortunately unfolded when it seemed that the clinic in Zman could have been left without a doctor as the virus ran wild. Sali asked for help from the Institute of Public Health, which sent its team down and out into the field with the head of the epidemiological service, Dr. Alan Medic.

”They’ve been here six or seven times for the people on the island, especially at the time of the pandemic, and the availability of vaccines was crucial. We were all committed to their arrivals: we kept people informed, prepared lists so that by the time the team came to the island everything would be ready for vaccination to be carried out. I even transported the medical team in my car a couple of times from place to place, to make everything go smoothly. I have to tell you, it was with joy because the medical teams were great, everything was done really flawlessly. Whoever wanted to get vaccinated got vaccinated. And we all wanted to! It’s important to say that there weren’t any more severe cases among the younger people except for one guy who ended up needing oxygen. He wasn’t vaccinated. But, he managed to pull himself out of it, it ended well,” said Morovic for

Bibinje is the worst…

Overall, the share of vaccinated people in Zadar County in any part of it is not lower than twenty percent. Vaccination of less than thirty percent has been recorded in Bibinje (with only 20.76 percent), followed by Obrovac, Stankovci, Policnik, Galovac, Sveti Filip i Jakov, Pakostane, Skabrnja, Sukosan and Polaca. Zadar is brighter orange on that map with 35.42 percent of the local population vaccinated.

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