Growing Number of Russians Vaccinated in Croatia, EU Covid Certificates Desired

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Marin Tironi/PIXSELL
Marin Tironi/PIXSELL

Russian citizens flocked to a small vaccination point in Zagreb’s Kajzerica neighborhood on Tuesday of last week, reports Jutarnji List.

While vaccinations were done at that location from 8 am to 6 pm, those in line were redirected to the Fair around noon because Kajzerica could not handle the number of people. At that time, a decision was made that vaccination without notice in Kajzerica would be allowed only to Croatian citizens and foreigners residing in Croatia.

The interest in vaccination at the HZZO vaccination point was so great that the workers had to go out and look for Croatian citizens, who, as assumed, have a vaccination advantage over Russians in the country. 

“When I came to work in the morning, there was a large line of Russian citizens. They came even before we opened and waited. They started coming last week,” said Kristina Tomašić, the head of the Kajzerica vaccination location. She emphasized that there is only one doctor who vaccinates, so there are big crowds.

The main reason for Russians coming to this Zagreb neighborhood is that Sputnik, the Russian vaccine, has not been approved by the European Union, so it is impossible to issue a Covid-certificate necessary for work or travel.

“Our vaccine is not approved in the world, and that’s why I’m here. By the way, I am a sailor, and I need the vaccine for work,” said Aleksandar (30). He came to Zagreb from Novgorod, and this will be his second dose of the European vaccine. He was first injected in France. Aleksandar revealed that he came to Zagreb alone and that no agency mediated his arrival.

Viktoria (22) came to Zagreb from Moscow, and like Aleksandar, she wants to have the approved vaccine. She plans to travel the world and can’t at the moment without self-isolation.

“Today, I will take the first dose, but I will return to Zagreb for the second. I want to travel but not be in self-isolation. That’s why I’m here,” said Viktoria. She will stay in Zagreb for four days and stated that she came alone.

“I read about agencies organizing group visits. But I didn’t choose that. I don’t even know the people who came here through an agency,” Viktoria added.

Dmitri (35) also came to Croatia on his own. He went on a long journey by car but was accompanied by friends on his travels. 

“I am here because I need a European vaccine. I have already taken two doses of Sputnik, and this will be my first vaccine,” reveals Dmitri. He added that of all the places, he decided on Croatia because “it is easy to get vaccinated there.”

In the end, Dmitri did not get vaccinated at the Kajzerica location. Namely, Russian citizens were redirected to the Fair around noon due to the crowds. When the news spread that they must have at least residence in Croatia to be vaccinated at the Kajzerica location, they were visibly dissatisfied. Finally, however, they headed to the largest vaccination point in Zagreb – the fair. 

“I asked them to move there. We are too small a point for so many people. Our citizens are a priority in vaccination because that is the only way we can improve the epidemiological picture,” explained Tomšić. She warned that they had only one vaccination room, and they could not grant the 15-minute observation period if people got sick after getting the jab. 

“They have to stay after receiving the vaccine. What if they fall when they come out?” Tomšić wondered. She said that the workers went out and looked for Croatian citizens who had come to get vaccinated at one point.

Tomšić said that vaccinating foreign citizens without residence in Croatia will not be prevented at their checkpoint in advance. All subsequent decisions will be made daily, depending on whether their capacity can withstand such requests.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn’t English.


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