President Rumen Radev Held a Meeting with the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides
The Head of State called for simplifying the procedures for donating COVID-19 vaccines between Member States
The success of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign depends on people’s capability of choosing a vaccine, as well as on the trust of people in the safety of vaccines in both a short- and long-term aspect, stated President Rumen Radev at a meeting with the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides.
The European Commissioner’s visit to Bulgaria is part of a series of visits to EU Member States spreading awareness regarding the EU vaccine strategy. Ms. Stella Kyriakides emphasised that developing national COVID-19 vaccination strategies will help this process reach more EU citizens. All Europeans must have equal access to vaccines, the European Commissioner stated.
The President explained the low proportion of vaccinated Bulgarians with the lack of vaccines from all manufacturers delivered to Bulgaria at the very beginning of the vaccination campaign. Mr. Rumen Radev pointed out that the Caretaker Government’s priority is to create good organisation, so that all willing Bulgarians, especially vulnerable groups and people above the age of 60, will be able to get vaccinated. The focus is also placed on the role of general practitioners and local authorities also putting their effort into providing easier access to vaccines.
The President outlined the high death rate against the declining number of people infected with Coronavirus as a problem for Bulgaria. “The crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted existing deficits in the Bulgarian healthcare system and the necessity of effective changes,” stated Mr. Rumen Radev. He added that, due to the restrictive anti-epidemic measures, access to both elective surgery and prophylactics of acute socially significant diseases was hampered. Bulgaria is the leader in Europe in terms of cardiovascular and oncological diseases as a result of prevention neglection.
The President noted the importance for people to have adequate medical assistance in the golden hour following an incident. “Thousands of Bulgarians perish because they cannot receive assistance in the first hour following an accident or especially in the case of a heart attack or stroke,” Mr. Rumen Radev pointed out and added that the problem is even more severe for inaccessible villages. Therefore, the Caretaker Government is working for the inclusion of a project to create a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service in the Recovery and Resilience Plan that Bulgaria will present to the European Commission.
During the meeting, the President also called for easing administrative procedures for one country to donate vaccines to another. “Solidarity is at the heart of the European family. Therefore, we must simplify the procedure for redistributing vaccines to countries in need,” stated Mr. Rumen Radev, and noted that Bulgaria would like to donate vaccines to the Republic of North Macedonia.