Queues in Bulgaria’s major cities for Covid-19 vaccinations

February 20 is the second day to see queues at Covid-19 vaccination points in Bulgaria’s major cities, after the country’s Prime Minister ordered the stepping up of the immunisation process.

At Pirogov emergency hospital in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia, immunisation with the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is on offer on Saturday and Sunday from 8.30am to 5pm.

A total of 560 people were vaccinated at Pirogov on February 19, a record for a single day at the hospital, Pirogov said in a statement. The hospital has five vaccination points.

“We are not turning away anyone who wants to be vaccinated,” Pirogov emergency department head Dr Diana Dimitrova said on February 20.

Before receiving the jab, people must fill out an informed consent form, undergo a blood pressure test and have their temperature checked by a doctor.

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boiko Borissov ordered on February 19 that “green corridors” must be set up at vaccination points for those wanting to receive the jab against Covid-19.

Bulgaria’s health authorities have expressed concern at the problems created in previous days by people getting appointments for Covid-19 vaccinations, but then failing to turn up.

On February 18, Alpha Research released the results of a poll showing that close to 52 per cent of people in Bulgaria did not want to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

On February 20, the Military Medical Academy in Sofia posted photographs of several well-known Bulgarian actors and theatre staff who had received Covid-19 vaccinations at the academy.

“They called on their fans to follow their example, because in this way they not only save their own lives, but also protect the people around them,” the Military Medical Academy said in a statement.

Bulgarian National Television reported that as of February 20, AstraZeneca vaccines are available for all comers at the Military Medical Academy in Sofia.

On Saturday morning, more than 200 people passed through the Military Medical Academy’s vaccination rooms, the report said.

Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, head of the Military Medical Academy and of the national operational HQ against Covid-19, said that as of Friday, Borissov had allowed the start of the fourth phase and mass vaccination. “But we do not turn away any other citizens,” Mutafchiyski said.

“Anyone who wants can come to be vaccinated.

“We have sufficient quantities of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and we have an assurance from the regional health inspectorate that they can provide more immediately, and from tomorrow they will provide us with Pfizer too, so with the Moderna we have available, we can continue at full force,” he said.

There are 10 vaccination points at the Military Medical Academy and a further 10 will be opened on February 22. Vaccination hours at the academy begin from 8am as of Monday.

Bulgarian National Radio said on February 20 that the websites of the regional health inspectorates in Varna, Blagoevgrad and Rousse had telephone numbers for people to call to register that they wanted to receive vaccinations during the weekend.

The regional health inspectorate in Bourgas said that everyone could be immunised with the AstraZeneca vaccine without prior registration between 9am and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday at the two immunisation offices in the city, BNR said.

In Shoumen, vaccinations will be administered without a prior appointment between 10am and 4pm on Sunday.

The immunisation office in Pernik will be open from 11am to 1pm on Sunday, the report said.

On February 19, Radio Plovdiv reported that there had been problems on the first day of the “mass vaccination” at the regional health inspectorate in the city.

Queuing was chaotic and people waited for several hours to receive the jab, while there was crowding outside vaccination rooms and anti-epidemic measures were not observed, according to the Radio Plovdiv report.

A Health Ministry statement said that a further 57 600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 arrived in Bulgaria on February 19, the third delivery of that manufacturer’s vaccine. On February 22, a delivery of 25 740 doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 is expected in Bulgaria.

The national information system daily report on February 20 said that 104 268 doses of vaccine against Covid-19 had been administered in the country so far, including 13 754 in the past 24 hours – the largest number of doses administered in a single day in Bulgaria to date.

A total of 26 750 people have received a second dose, the national information system report said.

(Main photo: Pirogov hospital)

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