Bulgaria looks to donate, re-sell some of the Covid-19 vaccines due this year

Bulgaria is exploring possibilities not just to donate, but also to re-sell some of the millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines due to be delivered to Bulgaria this year, Health Minister Assena Serbezova told Parliament on February 18, citing the low rate of interest in vaccination.

Serbezova was replying during Question Time to GERB-UDF MP Assen Baltov, who asked why Bulgaria was continuing to import vaccines when the numbers of people getting jabs remained low.

She said that the agreement on the purchase of vaccines concluded by the EU obliges member states to buy the prescribed doses of medications against Covid-19.

According to Serbezova, about three million doses that had been intended for Bulgaria had been redirected to France, while Bulgaria was in negotiations to donate AstraZeneca vaccines, for which demand was low, to Iran and Uganda.

She said that deliveries due of seven million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were in terms of a decision by the caretaker government on May 17 2021 and of 10 000 doses of the Valneva vaccine by a caretaker government decision on July 1 last year.

Baltov said that the rate of people getting a first dose was about 2215 a day, which he described as extremely insufficient, while also pointing to Bulgaria’s high rate of Covid-19 deaths. Of those who died, more than 90 per cent had not been vaccinated, he said.

Only 30 per cent of the population had completed the full vaccination cycle and only 10 per cent had received a booster dose, Baltov said.

The opposition has criticised the government for not keeping its promise to maintain Covid-19 immunisation as a priority.

Serbezova responded that vaccination coverage in Bulgaria was insufficient, but there were many reasons, one of which was that when the pandemic began there should have been an appropriate campaign in language that people understood.

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