ZAGREB, Dec 28, 2020 – Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) director Krunoslav Capak said on Monday 443 medical staff and 1,711 retirement home residents were vaccinated against COVID-19 on Sunday, the first day of vaccination in Croatia.
Speaking at a press conference of the national COVID-19 response team, Capak said the vaccine would not be available to family doctors before the second half of January, when the Moderna vaccine was expected and the vaccination of older people would begin.
“The Moderna vaccine can stay in a regular fridge for 30 days, whereas the Pfizer vaccine can stay only five days. We believe that will make the work of family doctors considerably easier,” he said, adding that the HZJZ wanted to spare them during the current first stage of immunisation with the Pfizer vaccine.
Capak said the HZJZ and the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices had received no reports of any side effects following yesterday’s vaccination.
Alemka Markovic, director of Zagreb’s Dr Fran Mihaljevic Hospital for Infectious Diseases, said two staff at the hospital had “mild rashes without any consequences” and that it was being established if anything other than the vaccine could have caused them.
Capak said another 7,800 doses would arrive this week, in eight boxes with 975 doses each, and that another 18 boxes would arrive next week.
Speaking of the vaccination campaign, he said the national COVID-19 response team had no intention of convincing anyone, rather they would inform people of the benefits via timely, precise, accurate and expert information.
Capak said the campaign began with media statements by vaccination experts and several conferences, and that a media campaign was being prepared. “We assume that a stronger media campaign will begin early in January.”
He said the national response team’s members would not be vaccinated on camera because the first doses were symbolic and being utilised for those most in need. “As soon as we get larger quantities, we will organise vaccination,” he said, adding that vaccination points or mobile teams would be organised if necessary.
Speaking of the coronavirus infection incidence, Capak said that in the week of December 22-28 there were 48% fewer cases than the week before. “Yesterday’s 14-day incidence per 100,000 population was 710.5 for Croatia. Medjimurje County has the highest incidence, 1,112, while Dubrovnik-Neretva County has the lowest, 235.”
According to the World Health Organization methodology, ranking EU27 countries from lowest to highest incidence, Croatia is 23rd as to the 14-day incidence and 18th as to the seven-day incidence.
“The mortality rate per million population places us at 19 among the EU’s 27 countries with a rate of 874.8,” said Capak.