Bulgaria launches Covid-19 jabs online registration system

Bulgaria’s health authorities launched an online registration system for Covid-19 vaccine jabs on March 4, with Health Minister Kostadin Angelov describing it as a key component of the mass vaccination effort, meant to optimise the logistics of the process.

Hosted on the website of the National Health Information Service – his.bg/bg/reservation, in Bulgarian only – the four-step registration process requires users to input their personal identification data, after which they can pick their preferred vaccine, the location and a time slot to receive their jab.

The required data includes the personal identification numbers (either those known by their Bulgarian abbreviation EGN or the personal number of a foreigner issued to holders of residence permits), birthday, ID card number, ID card issuer and the date the ID card was issued.

The locations in the system are limited to vaccination centres and do not include general practitioner doctors, as initially envisioned. There are 352 such centres currently in operation throughout Bulgaria.

Angelov said that the reason for excluding GPs was that their practices were highly varied and it was difficult to include all of them in a single system.

In the first step, the system automatically checks if the personal data supplied is correct, but does not highlight any incorrect data as an additional security feature, said Ivailo Filipov, director of Informatsionno Obsluzhvane, the state-owned IT company that developed the system.

Although users can choose their preferred vaccine during registration, the final decision is to be made at the vaccination centre based on medical advice from the doctor administering the vaccine, taking into account a person’s medical history, Angelov said.

The choice of vaccines at registration could also be restricted based on amounts available and expected delivery timetables, he said.

The earliest available date one can book is a week from the day of registration, but they are given a two-week period to choose from, meaning that at launch on March 4, the available dates were March 11 to 24.

Additionally, the system offers the option to download the informed consent form, which users can fill out in advance, which is meant to further streamline the vaccination process.

As part of the registration process, users are prompted to provide a phone number or email address in order to receive notifications – an initial one about their chosen timeslot and a reminder sent 24 hours before their chosen timeslot.

The system also allows a user to change their appointment to another timeslot, automatically vacating the one picked initially.

People who have already received the first vaccine dose did not have to register and would be added automatically to the system, receiving a notification if they provided their contact information, Filipov said.

It was unclear whether the new online registration system would completely replace the existing “green corridors” open for all comers wanting vaccinations against Covid-19.

Angelov said that the online system was meant to “facilitate the flow of patients towards medical facilities”, but noted that “vaccination centres will probably set up some sort of organisation” to account for no-shows, leaving open the prospect that the “green corridors” could continue to exist in some form.

(Photo of Angelov via his Facebook page)

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