Croatian lawmakers agree that the vaccine should be made available to everyone who wants to take it but they are split on whether inoculation should be mandatory.
Croatia has ordered more than 4 and half doses of a coronavirus vaccine from several different manufacturers. With three drug makers now reporting that their experimental vaccines are showing high efficacy rates and are likely to be approved next month, questions are being raised about how to encourage people to get vaccinated. Should vaccination be mandatory is the question lawmakers grappled with on Tuesday. In order for the population to be protected, around 70% of people would have to be vaccinated. Under Croatian law, vaccination against ten diseases such as tuberculosis and polio are mandatory. However, there is no provision in the law for a novel virus like this one. Stjepo Bartulica from the Homeland Movement, who has had Covid, says he is not sure forcing everyone to get vaccinated before there is more reliable data on the vaccines is a good idea.
"My hope is that as many people as possible will get vaccinated. They say I have some immunity for another six months. I don't know if it is true, but I did recover from this disease. When the time comes and I have had a chance to look at all the information, then I will be open to this idea," he said.
SDP MP Peđa Grbin says we should listen to the experts.
"If epidemiologists determine that the most effective response to ending the pandemic is mandatory vaccination, then that is something I will support," Grbin said.
Nikola Grmoja of Most does not support mandatory vaccination until there is more rigorous testing of the vaccines. He prefers a slower approach.
Hrvoje Zekanović of the Croatian Sovereigns says every individual should have the right to decide whether he or she is willing to take the risk. However, he does support providing the vaccine to everyone who wants to take it.
The first doses of a vaccine are expected to arrive in Croatia early next year, likely February, according to experts. Health care workers and other high risk groups will have priority access to the vaccine.
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