Bulgaria removes informed consent form requirement for Covid-19 vaccination

As of November 19, it is no longer required to sign an informed consent form before receiving a dose of vaccine against Covid-19, Bulgaria’s caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov told reporters, according to a statement by the ministry.

Katsarov said that the matter had been discussed with European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control director Dr Andrea Ammon during her visit to Bulgaria two weeks ago.

He said that Ammon’s opinion was that there was no European requirement for such a document.

The ministry said that on the basis of a check on Bulgarian legislation, there were no legal or medical grounds for requesting a signed informed consent form before vaccination against Covid-19.

“Until now, the document has been required on the basis of an order of the Minister of Health from December 2020. Today I signed another order revoking the requirement for written informed consent to vaccinate against Covid-19, as one is not required for any another vaccine in our country,” Katsarov said.

In other Covid-19 news in Bulgaria:

As of November 19, everyone who has had Covid-19 for a second time and whose case has been confirmed by a positive PCR or antigen test, recorded in the national register, can download a green certificate from the National Health Information System at https://www.his.bg/bg/dgc.

In the case of confirmation by a PCR test, the document will be valid 14 days after the date of a positive test. It will be valid for 12 months in Bulgaria and six months elsewhere in the European Union. The document has the same format and contents as a European green certificate.

In the case of an antigen test, the document will be valid 14 days after the date of infection. The document will be valid for 12 months, and valid only in Bulgaria. Its format differs from that the European green certificate.

A prerequisite for generating a SARS-CoV-2 relapse document is that at least 90 calendar days have elapsed since the date on which Covid-19 was diagnosed the previous time.

If the time between the two infections is less than that, the system will not allow the issuance of a certificate, because it will be regarded not as a new infection but as a continuation of the previous illness, the Health Ministry said.

The ministry said that so far, more than 2.3 million European vaccination green certificates had been downloaded from the National Health Information System portal, and close to two million for a negative test.

In just one week, 35 000 certificates for the presence of antibodies had been downloaded, the ministry said.

As of November 23, a hotline for inquiries about various aspects of vaccination will be opened, the Health Ministry said.

People will be able to ask questions about indications, contraindication, whether vaccines can be given for certain illnesses, during pregnancy and so on, the statement said.

Doctors and specialists from Medical University Sofia will answer the phones.

Visiting Sofia on November 19, European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who is responsible for vaccination in the EU, said that given the low rate of vaccination against Covid-19 in Bulgaria, the country could become a source of a new variant of the virus, Bulgarian National Radio reported.

In Bulgaria, 26 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated, while the EU average is 76 per cent.

Breton warned that because too many people in Bulgaria were not vaccinated, a new and more resistant variant of the virus could form.

“This would be very bad news both for Bulgarians and all of us on the planet,” he said.

Bulgaria’s Education Ministry said that it would provide 12.8 million leva from its budget to buy Covid-19 tests for pupils, Bulgarian National Television reported on November 19.

To provide these funds, the ministry is postponing until next year some repair and investment activities in schools, kindergartens and centres for special educational support and support for personal development.

At the end of October, Bulgaria’s caretaker cabinet allocated 13 million leva, currently being used to buy tests. The Education Ministry said that with the further 12.8 million leva, there would be enough money to enable pupils from the first to the 12th grades to attend in-person classes up to the end of 2021.

So far, the Ministry of Education has received a total of 851 000 tests from the Ministry of Health for pupils in the first to fourth grades, the statement. About 300 000 of them have been used since November 10 this year, the statement said.

The rest will reach the young pupils by the end of next week. More deliveries are expected, which will be distributed to schools in the country within 24 hours, the Education Ministry was quoted as saying.

(Photo: Military Medical Academy)

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