Covid-19: Bulgaria’s Cabinet approves five-phase vaccination plan

Meeting on December 4, Bulgaria’s Cabinet approved a five-phase plan for vaccinations against Covid-19.

In the first phase, vaccines will be given to doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical personnel.

Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said that these were people at high risk of infection, who in turn could transmit it.

In the first phase, 243 600 people will be vaccinated, according to Health Ministry estimates. The figure includes 30 000 physicians, 10 000 dentists, 46 000 other health care professionals, 6600 master pharmacists, 2000 assistant pharmacists and 150 000 support staff.

In the second phase, vaccines will be given to staff and users of social institutions, educators and staff of mink farms.

In the third phase, those to be vaccinated include employees of key state activities, such as water supply. The figure involved will be determined once regional health inspectorates have compiled lists.

In the fourth phase, vaccines will be given to people over the age of 65 and people with concomitant diseases. This is estimated to involve about 1.8 million people.

In the fifth phase, vaccines will be given to sections of the population vulnerable because of the high epidemiological risk of infection associated with their lifestyle.

Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, speaking at a briefing after the Cabinet meeting, reiterated that vaccinations will be voluntary and free of charge.

Health Minister Angelov said that the freezers necessary for storing the vaccines were already available, as well as specialised transport to deliver them.

Angelov said that the national plan was prepared on the basis of the instructions of the World Health Organization, plans of EU member states such as Germany, France, Italy, while the experience of some states in the United States also was drawn on.

Borissov said that Bulgarian society should receive up-to-date and complete information about the new vaccines.

“What we know, society must know, on the same day, hour, moment, so that every Bulgarian citizen can make a decision about immunisation,” Borissov said.

The briefing was told that the national vaccination headquarters was being headed by Bulgarian Red Cross director-general Krassimir Gigov, with Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev as his deputy.

The national vaccination headquarters includes representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior, the Bulgarian Medical Association, the Military Medical Academy, the Medicines Executive Agency, the National Health Insurance Fund, the Sofia Regional Health Inspectorate, the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, among others.

The National Plan for Vaccination against Covid-19 contains the key components for vaccination against Covid-19 and describes the process of ensuring, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the vaccination of the population in the country in accordance with uniform standards, a government statement said.

Vaccines in Bulgaria will be administered only with the permission of the European regulator.

To ensure that sufficient quantities of Covid-19 vaccines are available in the country as soon as possible, they will be delivered centrally, through a joint EU public procurement mechanism.

Kunchev said that for the first time in three to four weeks, Bulgaria fell in incidence below 600 per 100 000 population.

For the first time in three weeks, the district of Kurdzhali was no longer a red zone.

“We are seeing the first signs of a change in the trend, which we hope will be confirmed next week and show the importance of the measures that have been taken,” Kunchev said.

Earlier this week, Kunchev said that immunisation was expected to begin after the New Year.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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