First batch of Moderna Covid-19 vaccines arrives in Bulgaria

The first batch, 2400 doses, of the Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 arrived in Bulgaria on January 13.

Bulgaria has ordered 500 000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, with the main quantities scheduled to arrive in April and May.

The Health Ministry, which last week posted a provisional schedule for the arrival of a million Pfizer-BioNTech and 500 000 Moderna vaccines, underlined that the schedule could change depending on the production capacity of the companies.

The Moderna vaccines arrived at the state-owned BulBio facility in central Sofia in a ceremony attended by the media and streamed live online.

At a Cabinet meeting on January 13, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister told Health Minister Kostadin Angelov to ensure vaccinations were carried out in a timely manner and with proper lists “not similar cases as we had” – an apparent reference to queue-jumping for vaccinations in the town of Sandanski by four municipal councillors.

BulBio is the sole designated place for the delivery of Moderna’s vaccine in Bulgaria under the contract concluded between the European Commission and the manufacturer.

The Moderna vaccine is easier to store than the Pfizer-BioNtech. The Moderna vaccine is stored at a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius, and after removal from the freezers it can be stored at a temperature of two to eight degrees for up to 30 days.

Last week, the head of Bulgaria’s Medicines Agency, Bogdan Kirilov, said that all regional health inspectorates had refrigerators and two to eight degrees was the the standard storage temperature for vaccines, meaning that there would be no problems with distribution and storage.

Bulgaria expects to receive 4.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. An expert committee of the European Medicines Agency is expected to meet on January 29 on AstraZeneca’s application for conditional marketing approval of its Covid-19 vaccine.

Bulgaria began its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 on December 27. The January 13 daily report by the national information system said that so far 15 780 people had been vaccinated.

In other news on January 13 related to the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, the Cabinet said that it had allocated an additional 40 million leva, or about 20.5 million euro, to its tourism and transportation sectors job retention scheme.

The money will come from the EU funds human resources operational programme and would be used to cover the scheme’s costs until the end of March. Prime Minister Borissov said that the scheme had helped retain 26 000 jobs.

(Screenshot via BNT)

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

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The Sofia Globe staff

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