Bulgaria mulls withdrawing AstraZeneca jab

In the last 24 hours, only 154 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been delivered throughout the country. [Shutterstock/Girts Ragelis]

Bulgarian Health Minister Kostadin Angelov announced on Monday that the country’s roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine may be discontinued due to lack of interest.

In the last 24 hours, only 154 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered throughout the country.

In Bulgaria, there are no age restrictions and special schedules for vaccination with the Oxford vaccine. Anyone could be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine using “green corridors” in large hospitals.

“There are only a few people who want to get the AstraZeneca vaccine now. From a medical point of view, the vaccine is tested, safe and effective, but there are reasons for its outflow. You are witnesses to these reasons,” the minister said.

Representatives of the National Operational Headquarters for COVID-19 have repeatedly suggested that the AstraZeneca vaccine was being attacked because it was cheap, effective, and easy to store.

The Bulgarian Minister of Health announced that Portugal, which currently holds the presidency of the EU Council, is proposing a common approach to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“There is a letter from the Portuguese presidency telling us that the vaccine should be restricted entirely [for] people under the age of 60 as a common EU approach,” Angelov said.

The Bulgarian Vaccination Headquarters must decide what to do with people who have received a first dose of the vaccine, as well as with people still wishing to receive it. There is currently no known scientific data on whether people with the first dose of AstraZeneca can receive an mRNA vaccine for their second jab, or the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) clarified on 7 April that there are currently no guidelines on the “mixing and matching” of COVID-19 vaccines. (Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)

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