New Omicron Subvariants Increasingly Present in Croatia

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In a situation where all epidemiological measures have been lifted, the virus is spreading faster, and the new subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are more successful in avoiding the immunity acquired by vaccination or recovery, the HZJZ said.

On Friday, Croatia registered 612 new COVID-19 cases and four related deaths, compared to 206 new cases recorded on 1 June.

The subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have been found in 15 per cent of the samples that Croatia has sent to a European laboratory for sequencing.

The HZJZ noted that despite the greater virulence of the new subvariants, vaccinated people are still pretty well protected against more serious forms of the disease and hospitalisation.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 are recommended to get vaccinated at least three months after the recovery because the protection acquired by recovery subsides over time.

The director of Zagreb’s Fran Mihaljević Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotić, said that the situation was being closely monitored and that she could not rule out the possibility that the current increase in case numbers would be called a new wave of the epidemic.

“The spread of the subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 makes it possible for people who have been vaccinated or who have recovered to be infected, but these are mostly mild clinical forms that pass in a day or two. It is important that chronic patients continue to practise epidemiological measures and protection, so we invite them again to get vaccinated,” Markotić told Hina.

She noted that the two new subvariants were likely to soon become dominant in Europe, and added that new Omicron-specific vaccines were still not registered either in Europe or in the United States.


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