SOFIA, July 4 (Reuters) – Bulgaria is considering offering incentives to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Interim Prime Minister Stefan Yanev said on Sunday.
Bulgaria is one of the few countries where people can choose between four different anti-coronavirus vaccinations approved in the European Union. Yet only 14.5% of Bulgarian adults are fully vaccinated, leaving the country far behind its EU counterparts.
In addition to the general distrust of the authorities of the former communist country, Bulgarians often cite the fear of new medical devices as the reason for refusing the vaccination. Another reason is that around 400,000 people have already become infected and developed resistance.
“We don’t plan to force anyone. But we are considering the possibility of offering some coupons to the people who get the second shot,” said Yanev.
Sofia has opened special vaccination stations in parks to make it easier for busy people to vaccinate and is planning campaigns in Roma neighborhoods to convince these communities of the benefits of vaccines.
Failure to increase vaccine intake may force the country to destroy vaccinations that are nearing expiration dates.
Yanev said Bulgaria could face such risk in late August and is working with Brussels to see how it could also donate around 150,000 shots to Western Balkan countries.
The transitional government will remain in office until a new one is formed after the early elections on July 11th.
Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Alex Richardson
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