Covid-associated costs climbed to €798m in 2022 alone, minister says

NEWS 19.10.202214:44

Health Minister Vili Beros said on Wednesday the Covid-19 situation in Croatia was "relatively stable" and that the total cost of the epidemic so far was approaching 6 billion kuna (€798 million).

Submitting a report in parliament on the measures Croatia undertook against Covid this year up to the end of August, he said the number of daily cases was down for the 16th day in a row, but warned that the epidemic was still present and called for alertness.

The minister said unvaccinated persons or those who received just the first dose continued to make up the bulk of hospitalized Covid patients, adding that this points to the need to increase the vaccination rate.

He said that although the cost of the epidemic to date was high, it could not be considered a cost but an investment in the health and treatment of citizens which, he added, also impacted the success of tourism and the economy.

State secretary Marija Bubas said there were worrying statements about vaccination in the media supported by certain opposition parties. “The protests of various interest groups, with their destructive messages, have done no political damage to the government at all, but they are doing damage to citizens, many of whom still doubt whether to get vaccinated.”

As for the opposition’s criticisms that Croatia has failed in combating the epidemic given the mortality, Beros said one should take into account the age of the population, comorbidities, and the still-insufficient number of those vaccinated.

Asked how many vaccine doses had been ordered and used and how much it cost, he said 9.7 million doses were procured, 5.3 million used, and that of the 4.4 million unused ones, Croatia was donating 1.1 million and destroyed 426,000 which expired.

Covid vaccination is becoming constant so it’s necessary to procure it, he added.

As for the cost, he would not say, but underlined that the vaccine saves lives and that in that context the price was irrelevant.

“The government will pay all that is necessary to ensure that Croatian citizens have adequate medical care, including the vaccine,” Beroš said, adding that the vaccine is not paid by Croatia’s health system but procured via the European Commission’s common procurement.

He dismissed the claims by Miro Bulj of Bridge that the Health Ministry was hiding information on the public procurement of medical equipment and vaccines, saying, “Everything is public and transparent, but there are elements, such as European Commission contracts, which don’t allow us to communicate the vaccine price.”