Bulgaria joins EU deal to get Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in 2022, 2023

Bulgaria’s caretaker government has decided to join the European Commission deal to acquire Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in 2022 and 2023, with the country set to receive 14 million doses in those two years, caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov said on May 17.

The quantities would be sufficient for Bulgaria’s entire population, Katsarov told a briefing after a cabinet meeting.

The contract stipulates that if a new strain emerges, Pfizer will produce a variant of its vaccine.

Katsarov said that an order he had issued came into force on May 17, for regional health inspectorates to provide vaccines to general practitioners with the greater speed and efficiency.

“They will be delivered to the places where they work,” he said.

Mobile vaccination groups will be set up for people who are immobile or live in remote places, with the assistance of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Social Policy, regional governors, mayors and health mediators.

He said that “green corridors” for vaccinations for all comers would not be closed, would even be expanded.

On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, “green corridors” will be open, and on those days, there also would be jabs for those who have registered in the online system.

Katsarov said that this system – including that every week, from Monday to Thursday, GPs and open vaccination centres in the country will immunise people over 60 years of age against Covid-19 – would remain in place for two months.

He hoped that in that time, vaccination of the over-60 risk group would be completed because this was crucial for success against the epidemic. The majority of those in Bulgaria who have died after testing positive for Covid-19 were over the age of 60.

“If we manage to do that, it will free our hands to remove many of the existing measures and restrictions, which is what the citizens want,” Katsarov said.

Asked whether the national operational headquarters would continue to exist, he said this was a matter for the prime minister to decide.

“My advice is that if he himself needs it, it can continue to exist, but from the point of view of crisis management, it is not necessary,” he said.

A decision whether to extend the Covid-19 epidemic declaration, currently due to expire at the end of May, would be made in coming days, Katsarov said.

(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)

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