Bulgaria begins phase 3 of vaccinations against Covid-19

Bulgaria began the third phase of its national vaccination plan against Covid-19 on February 7, the day after the first 28 800 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in the country.

A further 300 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected in the next four weeks, according to Dr Assen Baltov, head of Pirogov emergency hospital in Sofia.

The third phase began with the vaccination on February 7 of employees of state pharmaceutical company BulBio. “Their role is very important because they are responsible for the distribution of vaccines,” Bulgarian National Radio quoted Medicines Agency head Bogdan Kirilov as saying.

The third phase involves administering doses of vaccine to those in key state activities, including – among others – law enforcement officials, staff of national security agencies and, through a recent amendment to the national vaccination plan, staff involved in Bulgaria’s April 4 parliamentary election.

Implementation of the third phase is being carried out in parallel with the continuing second phase of the plan.

Baltov said that it was possible that there could be a jump in the number of people immunised against Covid-19 because of the easier logistics involved in the delivery and storage of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Unlike the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, it does not require special freezers.

“We expect that a lot of general practitioners will be involved from here on, because it requires an ordinary refrigerator between two and eight degrees,” Baltov said. He said that the vaccine could be kept at room temperatures for up to 24 hours if not opened and for up to six hours if opened.

The interval between administering the two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is between four and 12 weeks.

The Health Ministry said that 17 550 doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine would be delivered to Bulgaria on February 8, while 6000 doses of the Moderna vaccine would arrive in the middle of the week.

Bulgaria’s national information system daily report on February 7 said that 57 016 doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been administered so far, an increase of 15 996 in the past week. A total of 17 392 second doses had been administered, an increase of 4329.

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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