Bulgaria’s PM among 5 EU leaders urging talks on Covid-19 vaccine distribution

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov has joined the leaders of four other European Union countries in a call for equitable access to limited resources such as Covid-19 vaccines.

A Bulgarian government statement on March 13 said that the five heads of government sent a letter to European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen calling for a discussion at European level on the supply of vaccines against Covid-19 in EU countries.

The other signatories are Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Latvian PM Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš and Slovenian PM Janez Janša.

As Deutsche Welle’s English service reported, Kurz suggested on Friday that some EU members might have signed secret contracts with vaccine companies in order to receive more doses than stipulated under EU-wide agreements.

The Bulgarian government statement said that the letter points to the conclusions reached at a meeting on January 21 of EU heads of government, which states that vaccines should be delivered at the same time and should be distributed proportionally on the basis of the population of the member states.

Failure to respect this proportionality would lead to huge differences among EU countries by the summer, with some reaching collective immunity in a matter of weeks, while others lag far behind, the letter said.

The five signatories said that it must be ensured ensured that all EU member states will be able to reach the common vaccination targets set by the European Commission for the second quarter of this year under equal conditions.

The letter also notes that vaccination is a turning point in the fight against Covid-19.

In other news related to the Covid-19 situation on March 13, Bulgaria’s Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said that those who had received AstraZeneca jabs against Covid-19 should be calm, and there was no risk to them.

On March 12, Borissov ordered the suspension of immunisations with the AstraZeneca vaccine pending a written all-clear from the European Medicines Agency.

The order to suspend AstraZeneca vaccinations in Bulgaria was given after a 55-year-old woman, who had a history of heart and other concomitant diseases, died after receiving the first dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine on March 11. The AstraZeneca jab was not part of the batch that prompted other European countries to suspend vaccinations

Angelov told reporters that he had relatives who had been vaccinated with the vaccine.

He said that if by Wednesday, the results expected from the forensic laboratory in Plovdiv were available, the vaccination process could be resumed on Thursday.

(Photo of Borissov: government.bg)

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

Please support independent journalism by clicking on the orange button below. For as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies, you can support The Sofia Globe via patreon.com and get access to exclusive subscriber-only content:

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292