ZAGREB, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced at a government session on Thursday that the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines could soon arrive in the country and vaccination will be free of charge to all citizens.
Presiding a government session via video link from his own home, where he is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, Plenkovic recalled that Croatian citizens traditionally do not have to pay for vaccines.
Plenkovic started his 10-day self-quarantine on Saturday when his wife tested positive. He also tested positive two days later and he is feeling well, a government statement said.
"As soon as the European Medicines Agency approves the Pfizer vaccine, the first quantities will arrive in Croatia on the basis of signed contracts," Plenkovic said.
The first shipment will contain 125,000 doses of the vaccine. Priority will be given to health workers, nursing home residents, the chronically ill and the elderly.
He also said that a record daily number of 4,534 new infections and 48 deaths had been reported in the past 24 hours.
On Friday, the Croatian parliament is scheduled to vote on amendments to the "Law on the Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases," which would introduce a 500 Croatian kuna (80 U.S. dollars) fine for not wearing masks as required a 10,000 kuna fine if more than 10 persons gather in private apartments.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.
According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Nov. 26, there were 213 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 49 of them were in clinical trials. (1 U.S. dollar = 6.21 Croatian kuna)