Foreigners with residence in Bulgaria entitled to Covid-19 vaccination

Foreigners with permanent or long-term residence in Bulgaria on the basis of study, work, family or other reasons are entitled to receive vaccinations against Covid-19, Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev told a news conference on February 4.

Foreigners in the country without such status and who wanted to be vaccinated would have to wait until all Bulgarian citizens had been catered for under the national vaccination plan.

Earlier, the Bulgarian Medical Association said that anyone in Bulgaria who wants to be vaccinated should inform their general practitioners (GPs).

Bulgaria is following a national vaccination plan against Covid-19, that began on December 27 with vaccinations of medical personnel. Subsequent phases include residents and staff of old-age homes, and teachers.

Kunchev said that it was expected that the third phase of the vaccination plan could begin this month. This phase of the plan recently was amended to include officials involved the administration of Bulgaria’s April 4 parliamentary elections.

Health Minister Kostadin Angelov told the briefing that Europe was preparing for a third wave and he wanted the country to be ready should the third wave reach it.

Angelov said that the authorities were satisfied with the results of the anti-epidemic measures taken in Bulgaria, and he called on the public to be reasonable and calm.

He warned against taking matters lightly “because what has been achieved is very fragile”.

Kunchev said that in terms of morbidity, Bulgaria ranked 26th in the European Union, and in 13th place in mortality, though he underlined that updated figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control were due only on the afternoon of February 4, hours after the briefing was held.

Eight districts in Bulgaria, including Sofia, were currently “red zones”, meaning that the rate of morbidity was higher than 120 per 100 000 population.

Morbidity was highest in the district of Kyustendil and lowest in the Turgovishte district.

Five countries – Bulgaria, Greece, Finland, Norway and Iceland – were in the “brightest zone” in Europe, but the trend was changing, Kunchev said. “The trend has reversed and we will have a gradual rise of the disease in February”.

Asked for the reason why the number of red zones had increased and the number of patients in hospital was increasing, Kunchev said that there could be a number of factors, rather than a single one, such as people failing to comply with the anti-epidemic measures.

For now, Bulgaria was maintaining the trend of the number of those who had recovered from the virus being double the number of newly-infected cases, Angelov said.

Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, head of the national operational headquarters against Covid-19, said that the recent figures showed that there was an “awakening” of the virus in Sofia while in Kyustendil and some other areas, the trend was definite.

Professor Todor Kantardzhiev, head of the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, said that currently the reproductive rate of the infection was that 10 people infected 12. Should the measures be relaxed, this would rise to 10 people infecting 29, he said.

At national level, bed occupancy in wards for intensive care of Covid-19 patients is 38 per cent, while the figure for beds for patients not requiring emergency treatment, it is 32 per cent.

Among medical personnel in Bulgaria, there are 630 active cases of Covid-19. Eighty-four are in hospital, with six in intensive care.

To date, 92 920 doses of the BionNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been delivered to Bulgaria, and 50 124 doses have been administered so far. More than 1400 teachers have been immunised.

Angelov said that there were discussions about antigen tests for school pupils, but this would have to be co-ordinated with the Education Ministry and with parents, because antigen tests were an invasive procedure that by law required parental consent.

(Photo: Military Medical Academy)

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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