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Croatian PM says COVID vaccines will be free

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ZAGREB, Dec 3 (Hina) – As soon as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approves coronavirus vaccines, Croatia will be engaged in the process of distribution of vaccines that will be free of charge in the country, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Thursday.

Plenkovic, who has been recently diagnosed with the coronavirus infection, chaired an online session of his cabinet from his home and on that occasion recalled that the EMA has announced its decision on the approval of COVID vaccinations, developed by Pfizer, by the end of this year.

“As soon as this happens, we will be engaged in the process of the distribution of the vaccines in compliance with the agreement on pre-ordered vaccine jabs,” Plenkovic said.

The shipment of the first 125,000 doses can be expected soon, and two doses of the vaccine are to be administered for immunisation.

Plenkovic said that healthcare workers, residents of retirement homes, patients suffering from chronic diseases, and senior citizens would be first to get the vaccine.

“Vaccine jabs will be free of charge, as this is the tradition of the Croatian healthcare system,” Plenkovic said.

Plenkovic commented on Thursday morning’s consultations with the president of the EU Council and a few EU senior officials on the approval and delivery of vaccines.

“My main message during those consultations is that upon approval, the distribution of vaccines should be efficient, simultaneous, and in proportion to the pre-ordered amounts of doses from countries, and we will thus have a pan-European approach to the protection of citizens’ health,” said he.

Pandemic not ebbing away

Plenkovic warned that the intensity of the COPVID-19 pandemic did not subside.

In the last five weeks, the number of infections increased from 45 million to 64 million worldwide.

“In that period the number of infections has risen twice in Europe, from six to 12 million, and in Croatia, the coronavirus numbers increased threefold from 43,000 to 131,000. A similar trend has been observed in Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, and Serbia,” Plenkovic said, reiterating that therefore the latest restrictions were necessary.

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