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Plenković: Vaccine diplomacy has turned into vaccine hijacking

Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that the covid vaccine diplomacy was turning into vaccine hijacking, adding that a joint EU lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers was possible if they did not meet contract obligations.

Zagreb, 25 January 2021 (Hina/MIA) — Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that the covid vaccine diplomacy was turning into vaccine hijacking, adding that a joint EU lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers was possible if they did not meet contract obligations.

Speaking to the press, Plenković said the European Council adopted a firm stance on Thursday that the deadline should be respected.

Some countries are paying more per dose than what the EU paid, he said, adding that that was not part of the agreement.

The prime minister said Croatia had not yet turned towards other vaccines because the agreement was that “we, EU member states, do not contact the manufacturers themselves.”

“Once that happens, there is no joint agreement. The joint agreement must ensure that the entire at-risk population is covered by the summer,” he said.

Italy is preparing a lawsuit against Pfizer, and Plenković thinks this will be carried out at the EU level, because, as he said, the Commission had signed the agreement “on our behalf.”

Asked whether the European Union would enter into new negotiations with the manufacturers and offer a higher price like some countries are doing, he said he did not see the logic behind such a move.

“They should be paying penalties to us and not vice versa,” the prime minister said.

I think we will provide doses for second shot

The prime minister thinks Croatia will provide the doses necessary to administer the booster shot to people who have been vaccinated.

“You’ve heard the epidemiologists, the deadline is 21 days… There will be no danger that someone who received the first shot doesn’t receive the second one in time,” he said.

As for politicians, he said there were fewer than a hundred at the national level that had been vaccinated. The government had concluded it was good to vaccinate ministers who had not been infected with the coronavirus, Plenković added.

Asked about the relaxation of epidemiological measures and the possibility that cafes and restaurant reopen in February, Croatia’s PM said that those matters were discussed during yesterday’s meeting.

“At the EU level, there is currently great caution due to the new strains of the virus. The vaccination dynamic has changed due to delivery slowing down, which is another reason for caution,” he said.

“The figures are encouraging, the situation is more favorable than it used to be, but these are not ideal circumstances.”

Asked whether children will return to schools at the beginning of February, Plenković said it was yet to be announced by the national Covid-19 crisis management team, which would “explain everything at its press conference today.”

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