Bulgaria: queues for jabs and tests for new action, the reports say

In Bulgaria, there is an increase in people wanting vaccinations against Covid-19, but also long lines in front of shopping malls and hospitals while employees wait to be tested against the new rules announced by the caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov on Dec. October, reportedly on the day the new measures came into force.

Bulgarian National Television reported people queuing in front of major hospitals in Sofia, but said problems with the “green certificates” section of the National Health Insurance website continue as it can only be opened on some devices.

The report said there was a “significant” queue for vaccinations at Sveta Anna Hospital in Sofia. The hospital said there had been delays due to problems with the national information system website.

In the past two days, the websites of the uniform information portal, the Ministry of Health and the website his.bg have regularly gone offline.

According to the BNT report, Sveta Anna has extended the working hours of the vaccination centers and deployed two vaccination teams to meet the demand. The vaccination center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

BNT reported queues for vaccinations in the Alexandrovska hospital, where the vaccination center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and in Pirogov, which is also open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The city council of Sofia announced that by order of Mayor Yordanka Fandukova, an additional vaccination station had been opened next to the masts in front of the National Palace of Culture.

The vaccination center in the National Palace of Culture, NDK. Photo: Sofia Municipality

Next weekend, vaccination centers will be set up at the NDK subway station and the connection between the University of Sofia and Orlov Most (Eagle Bridge), where vaccinations will be offered on weekdays and in seven municipal diagnostic and advice centers.

Eight provisional vaccination centers were opened in the Bulgarian district of Montana, four in the city of Montana, three in Lom and one in Berkovitsa.

In a statement from the uniform information portal, it is said that after the announcement of the new measures in the Vidin district, interest in vaccinations has increased. Vidin has the highest Covid-19 morbidity rate in Bulgaria at 972.76 out of 100,000 inhabitants on a 14-day basis, making it – like 15 other districts, including Sofia – a “dark red” Covid-19 zone.

Citing the BTA news agency, the uniform information portal announced that the number of people who wanted to be vaccinated in Haskovo had risen in the past few days.

The head of the drug agency, Bogdan Kirilov, quoted by the Ministry of Health, said that so far almost seven million doses of vaccines against Covid-19 have been delivered to Bulgaria and almost 2.7 million doses have been administered.

On October 20, around 13,500 doses of vaccine were delivered to Bulgaria, Kirilov said.

Almost 200,000 doses of the Janssen single-dose vaccine are currently available with an additional 184,000 doses expected to be administered on October 21.

Long lines of employees formed in shopping malls waiting for rapid antigen tests before going to work. Some said they stood in line for over an hour and a half before being admitted to their workplaces.

There were reports of long lines in hospitals with staff waiting to be tested. According to the reports, many hospital workers had Covid-19 and had high levels of antibodies, but the rules do not recognize antibody tests. Staff complained that the new system was preventing them from treating patients.

Screenshot via Nova Televizia.

The Varna municipality announced on October 21 that it had arranged individual consultations for the public about vaccination against Covid-19.

The community said that anyone who wants to get vaccinated but has concerns about health risks and other issues can register for a consultation with a medical expert.

At a press conference on October 21, the Central Election Commission stated that no green certificate was required to be admitted to a polling station in the presidential and early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria on November 14.

The orders from the Minister of Health and the State Supreme Health Inspector to conduct the electoral process were approved on October 6 and were no different from those issued before the early parliamentary elections in July, said Rositsa Mateva, deputy chairwoman of the Central Electoral Commission.

“We hope that if the situation changes drastically and various measures need to be taken, they will first be discussed by the Minister of Health and the State Chief Health Inspector,” said Mateva.

She said that most of the members of the section election commissions were vaccinated.

Prior to the April elections, special vaccination precautions had been taken. Such arrangements would not be made until the November elections because vaccines and the opportunity to get one are freely available, she said.

(Main photo: Military Medical Academy)

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s ongoing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

The Sofia Globe’s reporting on the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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