ZAGREB, Nov 11 (Hina) – The European Commission approved a contract with German pharmaceutical firm BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer on Wednesday, guaranteeing that the EU would receive 200 million doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccine and an additional 100 million dozes upon its verification.
Pfizer & BioNTech Group reported on Monday that their experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective based on initial trial results.
This prompted EC President Ursula von der Leyen to tweet on Monday afternoon that the Commission would soon sign a contract with the Pfizer and BioNTech pharmaceutical groups for the procurement of 300 million doses of vaccine against Covid-19.
Following news that a COVID-19 vaccine would be available soon, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Monday evening that “Croatia will get a verified and certified coronavirus vaccine as soon as the EU gets it.”
The agreement which the EC today signed with Pfizer & BioNTech Group is the fourth contract which the EC has signed on behalf of the European Union member states.
Von der Leyen was quoted as saying today: “In the wake of Monday’s promising announcement by BioNTech and Pfizer on the prospects for their vaccine, I’m very happy to announce today’s agreement with the European company BioNTech and Pfizer to purchase 300 million doses of the vaccine. With this fourth contract we are now consolidating an extremely solid vaccine candidate portfolio, most of them in the advanced trials phase. Once authorised, they will be quickly deployed and bring us closer to a sustainable solution of the pandemic.”
Capak: COVID-19 vaccines booked for more than half of Croatia’s population
“Croatia is making serious preparations for inoculating the population against coronavirus, and we have booked the doses of vaccines for more than 50% of our population,” the head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ), Krunoslav Capak, said on Wednesday.
He added that Croatia had previously concluded an agreement with AstraZeneca for 2.7 million doses.
Capak said he expected the first supplies to be delivered in the first quarter of 2021.
Croatia has also ordered 900,000 doses from Johnson&Johnson and concluded a contract with Pfizer for their vaccine.
“We have ordered a million doses, however, we do not know how the EU will distribute vaccines and how many doses will be given to us,” Capak told a news conference in Zagreb on Wednesday.
Vaccination against COVID-19 will be voluntary, and administering doses to vulnerable groups of citizens and to strategic groups of citizens will be free of charge, he said
Citizens aged above 65, patients with underlying conditions, medical professionals and workers in the welfare sector will have a priority in the inoculation schedule.
Over the past 24 hours, Croatia has registered 2,597 new cases of coronavirus infection and 28 related deaths, the national COVID-19 response team said on Wednesday.
The number of active cases in Croatia stands at 15,513, there are 1,545 COVID patients in hospitals, and 178 of them are on ventilators.
Since February 25, when Croatia registered its first coronavirus infection, a total of 72,840 people have contracted the novel coronavirus, 893 of them have died, and 56,434 have recovered, including 1,580 in the last 24 hours.
There are currently 32,225 people in self-isolation.
To date, 582,170 people have been tested for coronavirus, including 9,681 in the last 24 hours.
Capak said that currently, the number of new cases was rising at a weekly rate of four or five percent, after a jump of 80% to 110% on the week.
The percentage of coronavirus tests that have returned positive is 28%. The incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants is 772 over 14 days, which places Croatia among EU countries with the highest incidence rates.
The mortality rate per million inhabitants is 208, which puts Croatia in the middle of the EU ranking.