Covid-19: Croatian PM warns against “vaccine hijacking” amid delivery delays in EU

Andrej Plenkovic had been self-isolating for two days after his wife had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Andrej Plenkovic tested positive for covid-19 in November 2020

ZAGREB, Jan 26 (NNN-Xinhua) — Vaccine diplomacy has turned into vaccine hijacking, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said, commenting on delays of COVID-19 vaccine delivery in the European Union (EU).

Plenkovic noted that pharmaceutical companies should respect the deal they have reached with the EU. “(The) EU invested enormous funds as support to the research and pharmaceutical companies. We will insist that they meet contract obligations,” Plenkovic said.

He noted that the problem has occurred after some countries started paying more for the vaccine than what the EU has negotiated with the companies.

“Croatia still didn’t take a road to search for vaccines from other companies. Once that happens, there is no joint agreement,” he stressed.

Croatia has ordered 5.6 million doses of vaccines from various manufactures through the EU. Vaccination of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine started here on Dec 28, with residents of care homes and medical workers being the first to receive the jab.

More than 70,000 people in Croatia have been vaccinated so far, and around 11,907 have got the second dose. Due to the delivery delay, the second phase of the vaccination will be postponed.

However, Plenkovic noted that he thinks Croatia will provide its people with necessary doses for the second shot, saying that “there will be no danger that someone who received the first shot doesn’t receive the second one in time.”

In the last 24 hours, Croatia recorded 134 new COVID-19 cases and 32 related deaths, the Croatian Institute of Public Health reported on Monday.

Since Feb 25, 2020, when the country’s first case here was registered, 229,054 people have been infected and 4,859 have died. — NNN-XINHUA