Bulgaria wants Covid vaccines ‘in quantities tailored to needs’

Bulgaria’s Health Ministry has written to the European Commission informing it of its desire to receive quantities of vaccines against Covid-19 tailored to the needs of the population, the ministry said on May 19.

The Health Ministry believes that countries should be able to buy the quantities they really need, the statement said.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s online vaccine tracker, Bulgaria has the lowest rate in the European Union-European Economic Area in vaccinations against Covid-19.

The Health Ministry said that practice so far had proved that it does not work “to bet on quantities of vaccines that sometimes exceed the needs of the country”.

The ministry said that this was the case with the contract concluded between the European Commission and Pfizer-BioNTech for the purchase of pandemic vaccines for the period 2022-2023, more than seven million doses.

“That is why Bulgaria relies on an open dialogue with the EC and the manufacturers of pandemic vaccines to negotiate quantities tailored to the needs of EU member states and our country in particular,” the ministry said.

“There is a need for understanding, both on the part of the company and the EC, on the flexibility that vaccine contracts should have,” it said.

“The desire of the Ministry of Health is that our country continues to provide a wide portfolio of vaccines against Covid-19, but in reasonable quantities, which will guarantee the access of Bulgarian citizens to different types of vaccine products.”

The ministry said that in an attempt to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, in the face of a shortage of vaccines against new coronavirus, the European Commission signed a contract with Pfizer-BioNTech to purchase pandemic vaccines for the period 2022-2023, in order to provide EU countries with effective vaccine protection.

“Subsequently, the quantities agreed for Bulgaria and other Member States turned out to be in surplus, which is why since mid-2021 the country has been actively and consistently, in dialogue with the European Commission and other countries, looking for solutions to reduce vaccines.”

In its letter to the EC, the ministry also presented its proposals for changing the contract concluded by the EC with Pfizer-BioNTech.

The letter was sent at a time when several other EU countries, including Poland, had asked the European Commission about the possibility of amending the treaty.

“The main reason is that member states are obliged to purchase quantities of vaccines that they do not need.

At the same time, the provision of health services to citizens arriving from Ukraine requires additional financial resources, which could be freed up by reducing the quantities of vaccines set out in the EC contract with Pfizer-BioNTech, in line with the real needs of EU countries, Bulgaria’s Health Ministry said.

(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)

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