19:11 / 12.12.2021.

Author: Katja Miličić

Covid-19 deaths in Croatia are finally declining

Health experts optimistic booster will provide some protection against new variant

Health experts optimistic booster will provide some protection against new variant

Foto: Slaven Branislav Babic/ Kristina Stedul Fabac / PIXSELL

Croatia reported 2,339 new coronavirus infections and 45 Covid-19 deaths on Saturday. 

The latest data from public health authorities shows the country's Covid situation is improving. The number of deaths over the past seven days is down by 58 from the previous week. Hospitals are treating 2,293 patients, 330 of whom are on ventilators.

The fourth wave of the pandemic has taken its toll in Split-Dalmatia County. Anesthesiologist Dr. Sandra Stojanović-Stipić, the head of Intensive Care at Split Clinical Hospital, says lives are being lost due to vaccine hesitancy and resistance.

"When we look at the raw data, from November 1 up to today, we have admitted 168 patients and sadly 31 of them died. Looking at the statistics, that's less than 20%, but it is still 31 lives lost, needlessly. This could have been prevented,” said Dr. Stojanović-Stipić.

A few island communities are achieving much higher vaccination rates than their mainland neighbors. Sali District on Dugi Otok island in Zadar County has vaccinated 65% of its total population and leads the nation in vaccinations. Similar results have been recorded on the islands of Pašman and Ugljan. Local public health officials have been offering the vaccine every Saturday without an appointment in Kali District on the island of Ugljan. Local civil defense officials say this has proven convenient for the island's elderly and ailing population, saving them a trip to the mainland.

Public Health officials are concerned about the Omicron variant, which spreads even faster than Delta. The deputy head of the Croatian Public Health Bureau, Ivana Pavić Šimetin, says it is possible that Omicron could trigger a fifth wave fairly quickly.

"It's difficult to say, but the Omicron variant could bring about a new wave more quickly than usual,” said Pavić Šimetin.

With this new development, Pavić Šimetin says there is no reason to hesitate when it comes to getting the booster.

"We saw with Delta that the booster dose was very effective. Some new data indicates that effectiveness may be lower with Omicron but it still provides a good deal of protection, especially from severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death," she said.

As of two days ago, the booster dose is available to those over 18 who are three months out from their second dose. This means that people no longer have to wait six months to get the third shot.

Also, Croatia is expected to start vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 on Wednesday.

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