Bulgaria seeks equipment from EU to cope with Covid-19 crisis

EU member state Bulgaria activated the bloc’s Civil Protection Mechanism on November 10, seeking equipment including oxygen devices and emergency beds, Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) reported from Brussels.

The country cited the sharp increases in infection and death as a result of Covid-19, the report said.

BNR quoted Balazs Ujvari, European Commission spokesperson for budget and human resources, humanitarian aid and crisis management, as saying that Bulgaria had asked for oxygen devices, patient monitors, emergency beds and oxygen masks.

“Our Rapid Response Coordination Centre is constantly working to contact all member states and see if any of them are able to provide the requested equipment,” Ujvari said.

“At the same time, we are reviewing the available stocks of our reserve, which is located in several countries. As soon as we receive confirmation from these offices, the Commission will bear 75 per cent of the funds for the necessary transport if an offer is made under the Civil Protection Mechanism,” he said.

Separately, on November 10 Bulgaria’s government information service said that the caretaker cabinet had approved additional spending by the Health Ministry of 10 million leva (about five million euro) to provide medical oxygen and nitrogen for the needs of medical institutions.

“The funds will be provided as subsidies to medical institutions where patients with Covid-19 are hospitalised and treatment requiring oxygen therapy is carried out, in view of the significantly increased costs for and consumption of medical oxygen and nitrogen,” the statement said.

In other Covid-19 news on November 10:

A new shipment of 86 000 tests for Covid-19 has been received at the Education Ministry, to be distributed in four districts – Plovdiv, Bourgas, Rousse and Vratsa – for use in testing of first to fourth-grade pupils in schools.

This follows a delay in deliveries of tests that resulted in schools returning to in-person learning today in only 13 out of 28 districts in Bulgaria.

The Education Ministry said that where the system of testing had gone ahead, it had gone smoothly.

“Experience has shown that even in large classes, the process does not take more than 20 to 30 minutes,” the ministry said.

The Bulgarian Red Cross said that it had launched an information campaign entitled “Be responsible!”, aimed at drawing the attention of various communities to the importance of vaccination and compliance with anti-epidemic measures in the fight against Covid-19.

Through short videos on social networks, celebrities from the world of music, theatre and film art, athletes, celebrities from the medical community, Bulgarian representatives in European institutions, employees and volunteers of the Bulgarian Red Cross, will share their personal messages and personal reasons to choose to be vaccinated.

Among the first to support the campaign are the head of the Military Medical Academy, Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, Sofia municipality consultant on vaccination Professor Todor Kantardzhiev, Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union head Professor Asena Serbezova and four Bulgarian members of the European Parliament.

“The campaign is open and everyone can join. We at the Bulgarian Red Cross believe that vaccination is the most responsible solution for us and our loved ones, and through this campaign we hope to be able to reach and touch the individual through personal messages and personal example,” the Bulgarian Red Cross said.

“You can send us as a message on Facebook short videos (up to 50 seconds) in which you tell us why you chose to get vaccinated, and we will share all the videos that are in line with the Red Cross principles, they do not contain insults and invective and do not infringe on human dignity on our Facebook and Instagram pages,” the organisation said.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on November 10 that it had started evaluating an application to extend the use of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, Spikevax, to children aged six to 11.

Spikevax is a vaccine for preventing Covid-19, currently authorised for use in people aged 12 years and older. It contains a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) with instructions for producing a protein, known as the spike protein, which is naturally present in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

The vaccine works by preparing the body to defend itself against SARS-CoV-2.

The EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) will review the data on the vaccine, including results from an ongoing clinical study involving children aged six to 11, in order to decide whether to recommend extending its use.

The timeline of any evaluation always depends on the data that are submitted, the EMA said.

“The current timeline for evaluation foresees an opinion in approximately two months, unless supplementary information or analysis is needed. This is a shortened timetable compared to similar types of reviews outside of a pandemic,” the agency said.

(Photo: Bulgarian Interior Ministry press centre)

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