Bulgaria to pay bonus to over-65s vaccinated against Covid-19

People in Bulgaria over 65 will receive a one-off supplement of 75 leva (about 38 euro) to their pensions if they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on December 23.

Petkov’s coalition government, which took office 10 days ago, has pledged a targeted information campaign to encourage vaccination against Covid-19 in Bulgaria, the country with the lowest immunisation rate in the EU-EEA area.

Pensioners who have not received a jab will get 75 leva after the first dose, those who have had two doses will get 75 leva if they receive a third dose and those who already have received a booster dose will receive the sum when the programme starts.

Petkov said that the programme would start in early January and continue to June 30.

“The hope is that if we vaccinate an additional 300 000 people over the age of 65 by the beginning of February, this should reduce by a substantial percentage the risk of the hospitals filling up in the next wave of Covid,” he said.

Statistics on vaccines against Covid-19 vaccines showed them to be one of the lowest-risk vaccines, Petkov said. Talks were underway with general practitioners for them to explain this to their patients.

“It depends on the individual decisions of each of us whether we will have overcrowded hospitals in the coming months, whether the state budget will spend an awful lot of money on treating Covid patients, whether people with other diseases will be able to go to hospitals, whether our children can learn freely and whether our loved ones will be healthy,” he said.

“It is time to roll up our sleeves and make Bulgaria not a destination with the lowest vaccination, but a normal European country with medium levels of vaccination,” Petkov said.

Earlier on December 23, Petkov had a live-streamed conversation with Professor Radka Argirova, who warned of the seriousness of the situation with the low rate of vaccination in Bulgaria.

Argirova said that with the low rate of vaccination, Bulgaria was “in danger of becoming a Covid ghetto”.

(Photo: Savo Prelevic/EC Audiovisual Service)

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