Bulgaria’s first Covid-19 vaccinations broadcast live on television

Bulgaria’s national television channels broadcast live the start of the country’s process of vaccination against Covid-19 on December 27, with Health Minister Kostadin Angelov the first to get the BioNTech-Pfizer jab.

The process began at about 10am simultaneously in Sofia, Plovdiv and Bourgas. It is part of an EU-wide vaccination campaign beginning on December 27 against Covid-19.

Angelov, who was given the first injection at St Anna hospital in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia, said immediately afterwards: “I believe that the scientists have done their job. I believe that we will soon begin to prevail over Covid-19. I can’t wait to see my 70-year-old father without any worries”.

He said that after the vaccination, he felt fine.

Immediately after him, Bulgarian Orthodox Church Bishop Tikhon, Dr Rada Prokopova, head of the Department of Cardiology at the Clinic of Internal Medicine and currently head of the Covid-19 department at St Anna hospital, as well as Ani Kirova, a nurse at the Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Clinic, were vaccinated.

In each case, the person vaccinated first signed, as procedure requires, an informed consent form.

Bulgaria’s government repeatedly has emphasised that vaccination against Covid-19 is voluntary, recommended, and free-of-charge.

Angelov, speaking before the event at St Anna, said: “We want to show that Europe in one day, all (EU) member states will vaccinate different categories of the population”.

Elsewhere in Sofia, the first to be vaccinated at the Military Medical Academy was Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, head of the academy and of Bulgaria’s national operational headquarters against Covid-19.

“We are at war and this is our weapon, in these little bottles,” Mutafchiyski said.

Among others in the first group to be vaccinated was Professor Assen Baltov, head of Pirogov emergency hospital in Sofia, who has had Covid-19. He called on the public to be immunised, emphasising that the vaccine is harmless.

The head of Bulgaria’s national vaccination headquarters, Professor Krassimir Gigov, received the injection at Pirogov hospital. He called on everyone to be vaccinated, saying that it was the only way out.

Gigov emphasised that the vaccine is 95 per cent effective. “We want to show that the vaccine is safe, harmless and has only positive effects,” he said.

In Plovdiv, the first to be vaccinated, at an event at Sveti Georgi hospital, was Dr Ivan Madzharov, head of the Bulgarian Medical Association. The process was witnessed by Plovdiv district governor Dani Kanazireva and city mayor Zdravko Dimitrov.

After Madzharov, next to be vaccinated was Raina Todovichina, a nurse with 48 years’ experience who currently works in the surgical unit of the emergency deparment, and Dr Ventsislav Filipov, head of the internal medicine unit at the emergency department at Sveti Georgi.

Plovdiv nurse Raina Todovichina.

In Plovdiv, the immunisation process was to continue with vaccination over the next four days of about 200 doctors, nurses on the front lines in Covid-19 wards. The vaccinations are being given in a number of different hospitals, including Plovdiv University Hospital, two municipal hospitals, and hospitals in the towns of Rakovski and Assenovgrad.

For the vaccination process, Bulgaria has been divided into six regions. In the fifth region, which includes the districts of Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Pazardzhik, Haskovo, Smolyan and Kurdzhali, about 1100 vaccinations are planned.

In Bourgas, the first injection was given to University Hospital nurse Zlatina Parusheva. In the city, about 120 doctors and other medical personnel were to be immunised on December 27.

A total of 250 doses from the first batch of the vaccine, which arrived in Bulgaria on December 26, were provided to the Bourgas district, and 100 to the districts of Yambol and Sliven.

The immunisation process in other regions of Bulgaria will begin on December 28 and 29, with Vratsa and Veliko Turnovo due to receive supplies from Sofia on December 28.

The first doses for 975 front-line medical personnel have arrived in Varna. The Varna region includes six districts in north-eastern Bulgaria. Distribution to Dobrich, Shoumen, Turgovishte, Razgrad and Silistra starts on December 28. The plan for the region is to administer all the available doses of the vaccine by December 30.

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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