19:13 / 20.12.2021.

Author: Katja Miličić

Covid death doll surpasses 12 thousand

Croatia receives new drug that can prevent severe illness

Croatia receives new drug that can prevent severe illness

Foto: Sanjin Strukić / PIXSELL

Croatia has surpassed the 12 thousand mark in coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic. 

Another 62 Covid deaths were reported on Monday. Cases were down due to slow testing over the weekend; only 367 cases out of slightly more than two thousand people tested.


Croatian hospitals have received the first shipment of a monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid. Doctors are expected to start deploying on Wednesday. Tihana Šlezak, an epidemiologist with the Croatian Agency for Medicines and Medical Products explains that the drug, Ronapreve, a mix of two types of monoclonal antibodies, is used in Covid patients who are not sick enough to require oxygen yet but do have certain conditions that would make it likely that they will develop very severe illness.


"The way it works is that the antibodies bind to the spike protein of the virus and prevent it from entering cells,” Šlezak said.


One vial of the drug costs 15 thousand kuna.


Experts continue to press the message that vaccination is the best form of prevention, especially with the expected rapid spread of the Omicron variant.


The European Commission has released the latest vaccination data for the bloc and Croatia is one of four countries with the lowest rates of vaccine uptake, along with Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Just over 50% of Croatia's population is fully vaccinated.


Dr. Željka Karin, the head of the Split-Dalmatia County Teaching Institute for Public Health, warns those numbers are two low to provide any kind of community protection.


"In our county, 51% of the adult population and 42% of the total population has been vaccinated. That is much lower than the 80% that is needed," Dr. Karin said.


The EU countries with rates of 80% or more are Denmark, Malta, and Portugal.


In line with new EU recommendations, Croatia be revising its Covid pass rules. Iva Pem Novosel, the deputy head of the Croatian Public Health Bureau, confirmed that a review was pending. The new rules are likely to cut how long the passes are valid for fully vaccinated individuals from 12 months to 9. The booster may also factor into the changes. The change in policy was prompted in part by concerns about the Omicron variant.


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