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Bulgaria is a member state of the European Union - only one in four people is fully vaccinated here

Bulgaria is a member state of the European Union – only one in four people is fully vaccinated here

While the percentage of complete pollination in Western Europe is usually around 70 percent, as in Norway, it is disastrously low in parts of Eastern Europe. Figures in Bulgaria show that less than 25 percent received two doses Our world in data.

The country has the lowest vaccination rate and the highest covid-19 death rate in the European Union – 27,000 died of the disease in a population of 7 million during the pandemic.

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The new variant of the corona omicron now creates uncertainty and fear. Countries with a very low vaccination rate are particularly vulnerable.

The European Union also fears that a new type of virus will be able to evolve in a society where the majority has not been vaccinated.

The European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States are among the countries that have imposed travel restrictions on travelers from South Africa in the hope of curbing the spread of the disease.

At the same time, more and more countries are reporting cases of the dreaded variant. The United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Israel are among the countries that have reported cases. Denmark suspects that two people, who recently returned from travel to South Africa, have contracted the new variant.

Doses should be abandoned

Figures from Bulgaria do not reflect a shortage of vaccines. There is a large stockpile of all major vaccines, but this summer Bulgaria donated 172,500 doses of AstraZeneca to the Asian country of Bhutan because it would have been outdated, according to Reuters.

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Rather, the low vaccination rate is an indication that the average Bulgarian simply does not want to be vaccinated. He writes that the suspicion of the vaccine and the authorities is great independent in a report.

According to the newspaper, opinion polls show that up to 70 percent of Bulgarians are against vaccinations.

The numbers are so alarming that the European Union fears that a new type of virus may develop among the Bulgarian population.

– If we do nothing, a Bulgarian variant can occur because so many people have not been vaccinated, says EU Vaccine Program Director Thierry Breton.

Good place: There is a long way between people who want to get vaccinated at this center in Sofia.  Photo: Nikolai Duchynov/AFP/NTB

Good place: There is a long way between people who want to get vaccinated at this center in Sofia. Photo: Nikolai Duchynov/AFP/NTB
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The truth of conspiracy theories

The authorities tried to raise the numbers through advertising campaigns, lectures in schools and companies, as well as lotteries, for example. You can win a smartwatch if you are vaccinated. But little works.

The reason for mistrust is complex. Some people are afraid of the side effects, and others doubt that it works. Many people believe in conspiracy theories.

– The most I hear is that they have read something and do not want to expose themselves to the vaccine, Dr. Pippa Tsvetanova told The Independent.

In a large Trend survey from November, 52% answered that COVID-19 is an industrially produced virus; 40% believe the virus is part of a conspiracy between pharmaceutical companies. 33% are convinced that the disease is no worse than the flu. And 16 percent believe that vaccines contain microchips that can control people, he writes Al Jazeera.

growing trend: Line Vold believes that the increase in the number of hospitalizations and infections is concerning. Reporter: Marie Rosland. Video: Figard Krueger
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– I’m healthy and I don’t need a vaccine. In general, I trust the doctors, but not the vaccine, truck driver Karamvil Kamenov, 52, tells The Independent.

fake aura pass

There is also a difference between city and country, poor and rich. The vaccination rate is much higher in large cities such as the capital, Sofia, than in rural areas.

“I doubt that the vaccine they give the rich is the same as the vaccine that the poor get,” a teenager in a small town northwest of Vidin told The Independent.

At the same time, there is a widespread problem that doctors allow themselves to be bribed to issue fake Corona passports to vaccine deniers, so that they can travel abroad. The problem is so widespread that the authorities are considering installing surveillance cameras in vaccination centers.

– You go to the doctor, he records everything he needs in the system, and then he throws the vaccine into the trash instead of giving it to you, opposition politician and vaccine supporter Christov Ivanov, told Al Jazeera.

He states that of his 3,000 patients, only 700 have been vaccinated.

The problem also extends to the health sector. According to the Bulgarian Medical Association, about a third of doctors are not vaccinated, while up to half of the workers in some hospitals in Sofia have refused injections.

The problem of low vaccination rates is also significant in other Eastern European countries such as Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ukraine. According to the British newspaper, much of the suspicion is rooted in a great mistrust of the authorities from the communist era.

ANTI:

ANTI: “Stop all deadly vaccines,” written on the posters during the demonstration in Sofia in October. Photo: Hristo Vladev / NurPhoto / Shutterstock / NTB
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The church opposes it

Bulgaria is also in a state of political chaos. This year, the country held three elections without a clear result, and it still lacks a governing coalition. Prime Minister Bogko Borisov has received his share of the blame from critics, who note that he has set up two health agencies to deal with the pandemic, which partly gives conflicting messages.

The opposition also tried to make political money by undermining Borisov’s authority by questioning his coronavirus measures, including the vaccine program; A right-wing populist party promoting opposition to vaccination entered Bulgaria’s parliament earlier in November.

In addition, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church refused to support mass vaccination and instead promoted the message of the holiness and purity of Jesus’ body.