Bulgaria opening 69 Covid-19 vaccination points for children aged five to 11

Bulgaria is opening an initial 69 vaccination points, in district capitals and smaller towns, to administer jabs against Covid-19 to children aged from five to 11, a news conference was told on December 21.

The news conference was held a day after Bulgaria took delivery of 42 000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines adapted for children.

As The Sofia Globe reported at the time, the European Medicines Agency said on November 25 that its human medicines committee had recommended granting an extension of indication for the Covid-19 vaccine Comirnaty, developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, to include use in children in the five to 11 age group.

The dose for children has three times fewer micrograms than the active ingredient. Studies by the European Medicines Agency have shown that this dose has the same effect as for adults, Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev told the news conference.

Each vial contains 10 doses for children, in contrast to the adult version, which provides six doses.

Doses will be administered by appointment, to reduce the risk of wastage. Ten children will have to be signed up to receive the jab before a vial is opened.

As with adults, vaccination is voluntary. For a dose to be administered to a child, the consent of both parents is not needed, only that of the parent who takes the child to receive the injection.

Kunchev said that the side-effects were the same as with vaccinations for adults, with the most common being pain and redness at the injection point, muscle pain and mild fever.

The vaccine will be administered by a medical professional – a doctor or nurse.

Kunchev said that if there was sufficient interest, further vaccination points would be opened.

Dr Kremena Purmakova said that at the vaccination point, the parent would be asked some questions about the child’s health, and the child would be examined before the injection is administered.

On completion of the vaccination course, the child would be entered in the vaccination register and receive a Covid Digital Certificate, Purmakova said.

Bogdan Kirilov, head of Bulgaria’s Medicines Agency, said that by the end of November, more than 18 million doses of vaccines had been administered to the under-18 age group in the European Union.

Adding the doses in the United States, Israel and Canada proved the safety of the vaccine, Kirilov said.

Results of clinical trials showed that the vaccine had 91 per cent efficacy, he said.

Places where the vaccines for children are available will be listed on regional health inspectorates’ websites, while the current list may be found on the Health Ministry website at this link.

(Photo: Ministry of Health)

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