Bulgaria’s caretaker Health Minister condemns anti-vaxxer assault on Covid-19 vaccination team

Bulgaria’s caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov has condemned an attack by anti-vaxxers on medics at a mobile vaccination point in the Black Sea city of Varna on September 19.

The attack forced the medics to stop the vaccination process, Katsarov said on September 20.

“We will not allow our medics to be insulted, sworn at and humiliated for conscientiously doing their job and saving lives,” he said.

Katsarov said that vaccines were the most effective way to avoid experiencing Covid-19 severely and dying from the disease.

“Vaccination against Covid-19 in Bulgaria is voluntary and everyone decides whether to get vaccinated or not. We are not forcing anyone, but we will not allow organised anti-vaccine groups to stop those who wish to be immunised,” he said.

At the time that the attack took place, there were close to 5000 people with Covid-19 in hospitals in Bulgaria, with 390 in intensive care. More than 95 per cent of these patients were unvaccinated, Katsarov said.

“When the same anti-vaxxers develop severe symptoms of Covid-19 tomorrow, they will ask our medics, whom they cursed yesterday, to provide them with the best treatment. However, we will not be able to provide it to them if they hinder us and do not follow the measures prescribed by the experts,” he said.

Katsarov called on the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate and prosecute the attackers.

His statement came as, according to Health Ministry statistics, Bulgaria had exceeded the 20 000-mark in Covid-19 deaths.

Bulgaria has the lowest rate of vaccination against Covid-19 in the European Union.

According to a September 20 update by the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD), 21 out of 28 districts in Bulgaria are Covid-19 red zones, meaning a morbidity rate between 250 and 499.9 per 100 000 population. The red zone districts include Varna.

The remainder are yellow zones, meaning a morbidity rate between 100 and 249.9 per 100 000 population.

The NCIPD report said that on a 14-day basis ending September 29, the national Covid-19 morbidity rate in Bulgaria was 291.81 per 100 000 population.

(Archive photo of a mobile vaccination point in Varna: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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