ZAGREB, 25 January (Hina) – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that the COVID vaccine diplomacy was turning into vaccine hijacking, adding that a joint EU lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers is possible if they do not meet contract obligations.
Speaking to the press, Plenković said that the European Council adopted a firm stance on Thursday that the deadline should be respected.
Some countries are paying more per dose than what the EU paid, he said, adding that that is not part of the agreement.
The prime minister said that Croatia had not yet turned towards other vaccines because the agreement was that we EU member states do not contact the manufacturers themselves.
“Once that happens, there is no joint agreement. The joint agreement must ensure that the entire at-risk population is covered by the summer, that is most important,” he said.
Italy is preparing a lawsuit against Pfizer, and Plenković thinks that will be a joint activity at the EU level, adding that the Commission signed the agreement “on our behalf.”
Asked whether the European Union will enter into new negotiations with the manufacturers and offer a higher price, like some countries are doing, he said he did not see the logic behind such a move.
“They should be paying penalties to us and not vice versa,” the prime minister said.
I think we will provide doses for second shot
The prime minister thinks that Croatia will provide the doses necessary to administer the second shot to people who have been vaccinated. “You’ve heard the epidemiologists, the deadline is 21 days… There will be no danger that someone who received the first shot doesn’t receive the second one in time,” he said.
As for politicians, he said there were fewer than a hundred at the national level that had been vaccinated, adding that the government has concluded that it is good to vaccinate ministers who have not been infected with coronavirus.
Asked about the relaxation of epidemiological measures and the possibility that cafes and restaurant reopen in February, Plenković said that those matters were discussed in yesterday’s meeting.
At the EU level, there is currently great caution due to the new strains of the virus. The vaccination dynamic has changed due to delivery slowing down, which is another reason for caution, he said.
“The figures are encouraging, the situation is more favourable than usual, but those are not ideal circumstances,” the prime minister said.
“After yesterday’s discussion we think that the situation is challenging,” Plenković said.
Asked whether children will return to schools at the beginning of February, he said that the national COVID-19 crisis management team would explain everything at its press conference today.