Speaking at a press conference, Plenković said that the number of people vaccinated so far has exceeded 2 million and that today the proportion of people who have received the first dose will most likely reach 60 per cent of the adult population and 50 per cent of the total population.
“Everyone has the right to protest, but what we are advocating is common sense, notably the view of medical professionals, doctors and scientists,” the prime minister said. He added that people who do not want to get vaccinated can get tested very quickly and obtain a COVID certificate.
“We respect the people who are responsible and who have been vaccinated. And those who have not, we appeal to them to get vaccinated and to get tested,” he said.
Plenković said that the Fitch Ratings agency had taken into account the vaccination rate when it upgraded Croatia’s credit rating on Friday. “Ratings agencies watch what we do as a society, whether we stand in solidarity with one another, whether we are responsible, whether we understand what’s going on.”
Commenting on the message from Croatian Roman Catholic bishops that citizens should not be coerced into getting vaccinated, Plenković said that the bishops should be asked whether they should have publicly called on people to get vaccinated.
He said that Pope Francis was clear in his statement when he appealed to people to get vaccinated.
“I believe that many of our bishops have been vaccinated, considering their age and the availability of the vaccines. As for freedom, it cannot be the reason not to respect the people who have been vaccinated,” the prime minister said.
Asked whether he would meet with protesters against COVID certificates, he said he did not get the impression any of them wanted to talk with the government, and that peaceful protests were held to express an opinion.
“We live in a democracy. If anyone wants to talk, they can contact us and say what the problem is. I would like to see what it is about through dialogue,” the prime minister said.
Peaceful protests against the introduction of mandatory COVID certificates for public-sector workers and people visiting state and public institutions, were held in several cities across the country on Friday evening. In Zagreb, protesters rallied outside the government building in St Mark’s Square.
Commenting on the criticism from President Zoran Milanović regarding the transport of bishops by a Croatian Navy vessel, Plenković said he could not see the problem.
“This was about the ordainment of Bishop Vidović (on Hvar island). The Military Ordinariate had asked the defence minister in writing to arrange transport and the minister approved it. Is it a crime? It’s not. Did the state collapse? It didn’t,” he said.
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