The death toll among people in Bulgaria who had tested positive for Covid-19 was 23 379 in 2021, according to figures published by the national information system on January 1.
This was more than triple the number recorded in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, when 7576 patients with Covid-19 died.
While 2020 had one small wave of cases in spring and a major wave in the last months of the year, Bulgaria went into 2021 riding that same second wave, followed shortly by a third in February-April, due mainly to the increase of Alpha variant cases.
After a relatively calm summer, a fourth wave followed in autumn, this time caused by the Delta variant, but the recent decline in the number of hospitalised patients has not translated into a lower number of active cases and health authorities have warned of an upcoming fifth wave fuelled by the Omicron strain.
According to the national information system, 544 842 people in Bulgaria had tested positive for new coronavirus in 2021, compared to 202 266 in 2020.
A total of 492 868 people were listed as having recovered from the virus last year, compared to 119 527 in 2020.
Testing also increased drastically in 2021, with 6 295 065 tests recorded in the national information system, compared to 1 155 283 tests for new coronavirus administered in Bulgaria in 2020.
This was, in part, due to the decision in late 2020 to include the results of antigen tests as well as PCR tests for Covid-19.
Bulgaria began its process of vaccinating against Covid-19 on December 27 2020, with 4739 people receiving their first vaccine shot before the end of the year.
At the end of 2021, a total of 3 700 660 vaccine jabs had been administered, with 1 914 910 completing their vaccination cycle and 275 053 receiving a booster dose of the vaccine.
That translated to the lowest vaccination rate in the European Union, according to the most recent data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), as of December 22 2021.
ECDC figures showed uptake of at least one dose of vaccine at 28.2 per cent in Bulgaria, with full vaccination uptake at 27.1 per cent and booster dose uptake at 3.4 per cent.
In comparison, the EU/EEA figures were 72.2 per cent, 67.8 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively.
(Photo: Military Medical Academy)
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