Covid-19: Bulgaria plans to start mass vaccinations in March – report

It is expected that mass vaccination against Covid-19 will begin in Bulgaria in March, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said on February 16.

The country is following a five-phase national vaccination plan approved by Bulgaria’s Cabinet in early December.

Policy is that vaccination against Covid-19 is voluntary and free-of-charge.

Legislative amendments approved by Bulgaria’s Parliament on February 12 entitle permanent residents of Bulgaria and members of staff of diplomatic missions and international organisations represented in the country also to receive Covid-19 vaccinations. These vaccinations will take place in the final stages of the implementation of the national vaccination plan.

The report said that members of the public who have state health insurance should register with their general practitioner to receive the vaccine.

Those who do not have such insurance also are eligible to receive the vaccine, but they should contact their regional health inspectorate.

Those who have registered will receive a day and time when it will be administered.

Dr Nikolai Branzalov of the Bulgarian Medical Association told Bulgarian National Television that people should be punctual so that there was no crowding in front of doctors’ offices. “A lot will depend on the patients themselves,” he said.

Different vaccines require different periods of time between the two doses.

After the first dose is administered, the doctor should inform the recipient of the date and time for the second dose – and again, punctuality is essential, the report said.

According to the February 16 daily report by Bulgaria’s national information system, a total of 2048 doses of vaccine against Covid-19 were administered in Bulgaria in the past 24 hours. To date, the total doses administered is 77 436. A total of 21 323 people have received a second dose.

Branzalov said that “extremely few” people of those vaccinated so far had reported experiencing side effects.

Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev, speaking to Nova Televizia on February 15, said that “theoretically” one could be speak of a person choosing which vaccine to receive, but practically, at the outset of the implementation of the vaccination plan, that could not happen.

“At the moment there is no real choice, that may happen when there are two more (brands of) vaccines, depending on the decision of the European Commission and more deliveries of the vaccines already ordered by our country,” Kunchev said.

He said that the authorities had not heard of any cases of a GP refusing to administer the vaccine.

“That would mean that he is simply abdicating his responsibilities to take care of his patients. I am sure that all GPs will do vaccinations. We also have legal methods by which we could force them, but that is not the idea,” Kunchev said.

(Photo: Sofia municipality)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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