Bulgaria a member country of the European Union has vaccinated the smallest share of its population and plans to provide as many as 150,000 doses to its Balkan neighbours amid a lack of demand at home, according to Bloomberg.
Scepticism toward the vaccines, poor organization and lack of trust in the institutions has slowed the inoculation process in Bulgaria, where less than 20% of the population has received at least one shot.
“While supplies earlier this year were delayed, Bulgaria now has enough vaccines for the current vaccination rate and has even asked for some deliveries to be postponed,” said Health Minister, Stoycho Katsarov to reporters in Sofia on Thursday.
Katsarov explained that Bulgaria has asked the European Commission for options to donate or sell a part of its supplies amid requests from North Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, who have suffered difficulties in supplies.
The Health Minister stated that most of the doses planned for donation will be AstraZeneca shots, which Bulgarians don’t want to use after their use was halted by some EU countries temporarily due to fears of complications.
“Our will is to help and our needs are completely satisfied. At this moment, there’s no reason to expect that we can face deficits until the end of the year,” said Katsarov.
Bulgaria has ordered as many as 14 million doses this year from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and J&J.
Three out of five Bulgarians are unlikely to roll up their sleeves for vaccines, the highest share in the EU, according to a Eurofound survey conducted in February and March.