Bulgaria’s Cabinet has allocated an additional 125 million leva, or about 63.9 million euro, on December 30 to purchase coronavirus vaccines, taking the total amount earmarked for vaccines to 305 million leva.
Speaking after the Cabinet sitting, its last for the year, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov re-iterated that all vaccines would be voluntary and free of charge.
“The vaccine is the only thing that can get us out of the pandemic. With the enormous efforts of our doctors and nurses, orderlies and lab technicians, the personal example they set by getting the jab – that is the only chance that the civilised world sees at this time, to win this war through vaccines,” he said in a statement.
Bulgaria began its vaccination drive on December 27 and has administered jabs to 3844 people so far, Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said.
The vaccination drive was progressing according to schedule, with all districts drawing up plans to administer vaccines to front-line medical personnel, he said.
The ministry also has made all necessary preparations for the next delivery of vaccines, expected to arrive in Bulgaria in early January 2021.
In other news in Bulgaria on December 30 related to the Covid-19 situation:
Borissov said that the Cabinet was also making every effort possible to support the economy, by extending the “60:40” wage support scheme until the end of March 2021 and making preparations to extend it further to September 2021.
Extending the scheme to March would cost 300 million leva, which the Cabinet allocated at its sitting. Borissov said that total spending on the programme so far has been 627 million leva, helping preserve an estimated 250 000 jobs.
Additionally, businesses that had to shut down completely due to the epidemic restrictions currently in place, would receive funding to cover 75 per cent of the wages of its employees in January. Unlike the “60:40” scheme, this would not require employers to cover the rest of their staff’s wages.
The total cost of that measure was unclear, but so far 5000 companies with 23 000 employees have applied for such funding, which would require 11 million leva.
Bulgaria could consider easing its current anti-epidemic restrictions once the number of new daily infection cases falls into the 300-500 range and stays at that level for at least 10 days, mathematics professor Nikolai Vitanov, an adviser to the national operational headquarters, said on December 30.
Speaking to private broadcaster Nova Televizia, Vitanov estimated that only one in four infected people took a Covid-19 test and appeared in the daily statistics released by the national information system.
He said that the vaccination drive would reduce the number of infections, but it would require two million people to receive the jab in order for it to have a sizeable impact.
To get Bulgaria to a point where the issues raised by Covid-19 “are starting to be taken care of”, the total number of vaccinated people should reach 3.5 million.
Given the schedule for vaccine deliveries, that target could be reached in the second half of the summer 2021, provided Bulgaria could ramp up daily vaccinations to 20 000, which would require an estimated 400 doctors dedicated to that effort, Vitanov said.
(Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers building. Photo: government.bg)
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