Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros said on Thursday that, during yesterday’s videoconference of EU health ministers, it was reiterated that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the potential harm, so there is no reason to suspend the vaccination process.
There are some countries that have introduced certain restrictions, however most support the use of the vaccine without restrictions, given the lack of evidence at the moment that could limit the use of that vaccine, Beros said before the Government session.
He noted that some countries have set age limits for the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
France and Belgium apply it for people over the age of 55 and another group of countries for people over the age of 60, while only Finland uses it for people over the age of 65. In Denmark, the temporary suspension of the drug continues.
Beros estimated that approximately 25 to 35% of citizens in Croatia currently refuse to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca.
“We are concerned about this and are thinking of ways to solve it, but we are pleased with the fact that there are certain regions where this is not a problem and where this percentage is significantly lower,” Beros said. He also announced the actualization of the vaccination campaign when it enters the third phase and the vaccination of young people.
He added that the bulk of the Pfizer vaccine batch is expected to arrive in Croatia.
“HZJZ and HALMED are closely monitoring the situation regarding side effects, and any suspicious cases will be further assessed,” Beroš said. This, he says, was the conclusion of yesterday’s informal meeting, where it was stressed that better coordination and dissemination of technical data is needed.
The mortality rate in Croatia is currently at 2.2%, which means that for every 45 confirmed cases in Croatia, there is one death. The death toll of 6,185 people since the start of the pandemic is extremely high and cannot be compared to the small number of side effects cases, Berosh argued.
“We have to be flexible and protect the nation in the best possible way. We have to adapt; if someone older refuses to be vaccinated, we will adapt to the conditions. “More and more citizens need to be vaccinated,” he said.
Beroš also underlined that the Government is working intensively in resolving the debt to wholesalers, so that patients are not left without medicines.