Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector: 300 000 – 400 000 doses of Covid-19 jabs will expire by end-September

The shelf life of 300 000 to 400 000 doses of vaccines against Covid-19 held in Bulgaria will expire by the end of September, Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev told Nova Televizia on September 13.

Kunchev said that there was data that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has a much longer shelf life and may not need to be scrapped if the European Medicines Agency so rules.

Referring to the vaccine doses that will expire, Kunchev said: “We are doing 15 000 to 20 000 immunisations a day, there is no way to use them at this rate.”

He said that unless they could be used by other countries, about which talks were continuing, this would be the first major batch to expire.

Bulgaria, which has the lowest rate of vaccination against Covid-19 not only in the European Union but also in the whole of Europe, previously has agreed to donate vaccine doses to Bhutan and the Republic of North Macedonia, and to sell doses to Norway.

According to the September 13 report by the unified information portal, as The Sofia Globe reported earlier, a total of 1 236 422 people in Bulgaria have completed the vaccination cycle against Covid-19. The National Statistical Institute estimates Bulgaria’s population to be just more than 6.9 million.

Kunchev said that even countries like North Macedonia, which started its Covid-19 vaccination process later than Bulgaria did, now had twice as many immunised per capita.

“I don’t see a serious mistake regarding the immunisation strategy, we have set up vaccination points everywhere. We have the best vaccines in the world. We constantly have inquiries from neighbouring countries whether it is possible to be vaccinated in our country. And Bulgarian citizens do not want to,” he said.

He reiterated his call for compulsory vaccination of medical professionals and social workers.

Kunchev said that when Covid-19 morbidity reached a rate above 500 per 100 000 population, more serious measures would have to be taken, because Bulgaria’s hospital system would not cope.

Commenting on the measures and the reaction against them, Kunchev said: “The impression has been created that we take pleasure in closing restaurants. We do not want to get into a fight, but to protect people and not overcrowd hospitals.

“Given that we have reached 19 500 dead, how many people have to die, how many cities do we have to lose, before we realise that there is a problem?” he said.

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

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