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First vaccine doses in Croatia on Dec 27, says PM

Without vaccination, epidemic won't go away

ZAGREB, Dec 17 (Hina) – Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Thursday the first smaller quantities of the COVID-19 vaccine could arrive in Croatia as part of European COVID-19 vaccination days planned for December 27-29.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted today that COVID-19 vaccination across the EU would begin on December 27-29.

Asked by the press if this meant that the first doses could arrive in Croatia before January 4, which was previously announced, Plenkovic answered affirmatively.

Since the distribution of the first doses depends on the European Medicines Agency’s approval, he said the EMA planned to move the initial approval date from December 28. “That would enable the first distribution of a smaller amount of doses.”

Plenkovic said all European leaders had a brief conference this morning at which the European Commission outlined its plan to hold COVID-19 vaccination days on December 27-29, adding that this would be “a gesture of common vaccination at European level.”

He recalled that Croatia ordered 5.7 million doses from all manufacturers based on agreements which the Commission concluded on behalf of the member states, including one million of the Pfizer vaccine which the EMA is expected to approve first.

“After them, it is expected that the European Medicines Agency will approve the Moderna vaccine as well. We’ll see if that date, set for January 12, will also be moved a little, and the delivery of those doses to Croatia will go in line with that.”

Plenkovic said a diplomatic competition for the vaccine was under way and that he told von der Leyen that procurement should be “without any discrimination against anyone and that the vaccine distribution pace be as originally agreed and in the quantities requested.”

He said the government would adopt a vaccination plan next week at the suggestion of the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Health Ministry. Vaccination of the population will last at least six months due to the production pace and distribution, he added.

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