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How to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Croatia

COVID-19 vaccine in Croatia
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UPDATED: 29/04/2022

Vaccination against COVID-19 is a safe way to protect yourself and others from the disease. All COVID-19 vaccines that are used in Croatia have been shown to protect from severe forms of the virus and death.

The vaccination is not required of residents, and will not be required for tourists to enter the country. It is completely optional.

People who want to get vaccinated can subscribe to the vaccination list. Once it is their turn, they will be invited to get the vaccination. Another option is to visit a mass vaccination point without a prior subscription to get the vaccination immediately.

In Croatia, vaccinations are carried out by:

  • Family doctor offices (ordinacija obiteljske medicine)
  • County Institutes of Public Health (Županijski zavod za javno zdravstvo)
  • Mass vaccination points (punktovi za masovno cijepljenje)
  • Pharmacies (ljekarna)
  • COVID-19 buses – occasionally

If you are struggling with the current situation regarding the COVID-19 epidemic, you can always get free psychological support.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Who qualifies to get the COVID-19 vaccine

In Croatia, a vaccine against COVID-19 is available to EVERYONE including:

  • Croatian nationals
  • Foreign nationals
  • Residents with prebivalište, i.e. permanent address
  • Residents with boravište, i.e. temporary address
  • Tourists
  • People with Croatian health insurance
  • People without Croatian health insurance

To get the COVID-19 vaccination in Croatia, Croatian health insurance is no longer required. Vaccinations are currently available to everyone including tourists. [Read: How tourists can get the COVID-19 vaccine in Croatia]

[Read: Complete guide to Croatia’s COVID-19 resources for tourists and residents]

Who belongs to the priority groups

Vaccination is conducted according to priority groups defined by the National COVID-19 vaccination plan. However, Croatia currently has enough vaccines for everyone. This means that you shouldn’t wait for the term too long if you don’t belong to a priority group. If you want to get the vaccine immediately, you can always visit a mass vaccination point.

Family doctors should evaluate the medical history of their patients and put them in priority groups if needed. If you are in a priority group, speak to your doctor to make sure you’ve been placed properly. Priority groups have the advantage to get vaccinated before everyone else.

First and second doses of the vaccine

Priority groups for the first and the second dose of the vaccine are:

  • Workers and users of homes for the elderly
  • People with disabilities
  • Healthcare workers
  • People older than 65 years of age
  • People with chronic diseases regardless of their age
  • People with an increased risk of severe forms of the disease
  • Tourism workers and private renters

Booster doses of the vaccine

The booster dose (so-called third dose) is primarily intended for immunocompromised people who most likely didn’t develop a complete or satisfactory immune response to the previously received doses. Their specialist doctors will decide on the best time for receiving the booster dose (for each person individually).

A booster dose is also recommended for people older than 18 who have received the primary doses. It can be received at least 6 months after completion of primary vaccination after consulting a doctor.

Priority groups for the booster dose of the vaccine are:

  • Users of homes for the elderly and infirm
  • People with disabilities
  • Nursing home employees
  • Health care workers who work with patients
  • People older than 65
  • People older than 18 who share a household with immunocompromised people
  • People who suffer from chronic diseases.

A second booster (so-called fourth dose) is recommended for people older than 80 and people over 65 who are users of the homes for the elderly and infirm. It is also recommended for people who are at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19, primarily vaccinated and boosted with Janssen. A second booster should be received at least 4 months after the first booster dose and Pfizer or Moderna are used for this purpose.

How to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Croatia

The vaccine against COVID-19 in Croatia can be received:

  • After subscription to the vaccination list
  • Immediately without a prior subscription to the vaccination list

All possible scenarios are explained below.

Note: You don’t have to receive all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the same location. It is possible to receive the second or the booster dose at another location.

How to get on the vaccination list

Option #1 – Family doctor

You can sign up for the vaccination with your family doctor called doktor obiteljske medicine. Call your doctor and inform them that you’d like to get on the list.

This option is especially recommended for people with chronic diseases. A family doctor will confirm your health condition and assign you a priority place on the vaccination list.

Croatia currently has enough vaccines, so everyone should get the vaccine very quickly after they subscribe to the list. A family doctor will probably call you to get vaccinated within a few days after the subscription.

Immobile and handicapped people must apply to their family doctor. The doctor will organize vaccination during a home visit or with the help of mobile teams. People living in nursing institutions and special hospitals will be vaccinated in those institutions.

More information on the vaccination of immobile and handicapped people is available here.

Option #2 – Online

Cijepi se online registration system is available here.

Certain problems occurred with the online registration system Cijepi se at the time it was launched, but they have been solved. It is now possible to get on the vaccination list online. However, if you have registered online but have not yet been called for the vaccination, use another method to register, just in case.

Option #3 – By phone

You can also request to be on the vaccination list by calling the freephone line at +385 (0)800 0011. If you are a resident of Zagreb, you may call +385 (0)800 8804.

You need HZZO health insurance or a Croatian OIB to register over the phone. [Read: Croatia’s state health care obvezno health insurance]

After applying, you will receive a notification about the place and time of vaccination via email, SMS, or phone, depending on your selection.

Option #4 – County institutions of the HZJZ

Another option to subscribe to the vaccination list is to contact the County Public Health Institute (Županijski zavod za javno zdravstvo) of the HZJZ.

This option is for:

  • People without a family doctor in Croatia
  • People without Croatian OIB
  • Foreigners who are currently in Croatia
  • Tourists
  • Anyone else (but it is faster to use some other option)

Contact the HZJZ office closest to where you live or where you are currently staying.

A full list of all County Institutes in Croatia and their contact numbers are available here.

[Read: Where to get vaccinations in Croatia]

Option #5 – Pharmacies

To get the vaccine, first, you have to announce your arrival at the pharmacy. A list of pharmacies that vaccinate against COVID-19 organized by Croatian counties including their contact information is available here.

You can pick the type of vaccine that you’d like to get. The pharmacy will put you on the vaccination list. Once it is your turn, they will invite you to get the vaccination.

This option is particularly suitable for older people because it is quite simple.

The COVID-19 passport is also available in a pharmacy. [Read: How to get the COVID-19 passport in Croatia]

How to get the vaccine immediately, without a subscription

Option #1 – Mass vaccination points

In the largest Croatian cities, there are mass vaccination points where you can get the COVID-19 vaccine without a prior subscription to the vaccination list.

You can choose the type of vaccine you’d like to get. They usually use one type of vaccine one day and then they use a different type on another day. This means that if you come to a certain mass vaccination point, for example, on Monday, you’ll get Pfizer, but if you come on Wednesday, you’ll get Moderna.

Each city publishes its mass vaccination schedules on its official city web pages. It is best to track their pages to find the latest information on the schedules and types of vaccines they use. After you check the schedule, go to the mass vaccination point and get your dose of the desired vaccine.

A list of all current vaccination points in Croatia is available here.

Option #2 – COVID-19 buses

Occasionally, vaccination against COVID-19 is also available on COVID-19 buses. COVID-19 buses are occasionally available in smaller rural places. Some of these places don’t have any health facilities.

Citizens are vaccinated on the spot, without a prior subscription to the vaccination list. Schedules are published on the internet, so it is best to track the news. You can also track web pages of individual municipalities and smaller places to find the latest schedule.

Vaccines available in Croatia

In the past, it wasn’t possible to choose the COVID-19 vaccine for which you want to be vaccinated due to the limited distribution. Now, it is possible to choose the vaccine if you visit a mass vaccination point or a County Institutes of Public Health.

COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available in Croatia are:

  • Astra Zeneca/Oxford
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Moderna
  • Nuvaxovid (Novavax)
  • Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty)

Astra Zeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer demand a vaccination with two doses of the same vaccine. Johnson & Johnson requires only one dose.

It is recommended to receive the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine after 12 weeks. For Moderna, the recommendation is to receive the second dose after 4-6 weeks (but at least 28 days), and for Pfizer after 6 weeks (but at least after 21 days).

Astra Zeneca, Moderna, and Nuvaxovid vaccines are recommended for people 18 years of age and more. Pfizer is recommended for people 12 years of age and more.

It is also possible to receive a booster dose of the vaccine. The booster is primarily intended for immunocompromised people who most likely didn’t develop a complete or satisfactory immune response to the previously received doses, their household members, health care workers who treat them, and other priority groups. However, it is also recommended for people older than 18.

Specialist doctors define the terms for receiving the third dose for each person individually. However, a booster dose can be received at least 6 months after completion of primary vaccination. People who have recovered from COVID-19 and who have completed the primary vaccination don’t need to receive a booster dose.

View the Croatian vaccination map here. It shows the COVID-19 vaccination statistics in Croatia according to Croatian municipalities.

Additional information on COVID-19 vaccination

Before the vaccination, notify the doctor about your allergies, severe acute illness, and infections with high body temperature. They will determine whether you can get vaccinated with the available vaccine or if the vaccination must be postponed.

Once you get the vaccination time and date, be sure to appear at the vaccination point. Don’t miss it. If you have an emergency situation, inform the doctor about it. They will get you a new time. After you receive the first dose of the vaccine, you will receive a notification of the time for the second dose. It will be sent by the same doctor who vaccinated you the first time.

If you want to get the vaccine immediately, go to the mass vaccination point (or, occasionally, a COVID-19 bus).

The vaccination against COVID-19 in Croatia is also recommended for pregnant women.

The vaccine may have lower efficacy for people who are immunocompromised. For example, oncological patients and people who receive immunosuppressive therapies may experience lower efficacy. In these cases, it is recommended to receive a booster dose of the vaccine as well.

If you notice any side effects after getting vaccinated, contact the doctor who gave you the vaccination immediately.

Here is a list of common side effects and questions about the vaccine.

There are two Croatian COVID-19 Facebook groups that publish the latest information for the country:

Be safe. Get vaccinated. Wear a mask.

View our other COVID-19 posts


Sources:
https://www.koronavirus.hr/cijepljenje-protiv-covid-19-bolesti-najcesca-pitanja-i-odgovori/892
https://www.hzjz.hr/sluzba-epidemiologija-zarazne-bolesti/od-danas-se-gradani-mogu-prijaviti-na-cijepljenje-protiv-covid-19-i-preko-interneta-ili-telefonski/
https://www.hzjz.hr/sluzba-epidemiologija-zarazne-bolesti/kontakti-zupanijskih-pozivnih-centara-za-prijavu-na-cijepljenje-protiv-bolesti-covid-19/
https://www.plivazdravlje.hr/aktualno/clanak/34642/COVID-19-kada-se-cijepiti-i-kojim-cjepivom.html#44892
https://www.jutarnji.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/pocinje-cijepljenje-po-ljekarnama-doznajemo-sve-pojedinosti-i-koji-gradovi-krecu-prvi-15093339

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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