Published on : Thursday, July 1, 2021
Bulgarian authorities have warned that the country with the lowest vaccination rate in the EU, has every reason to fear a deadly fourth wave of COVID-19 infections caused by the highly infectious Delta variant being brought in by incoming tourists.
Meanwhile, neighbouring Greece is taking measures to convince young people to get vaccinated triggering a wave of reactions.
The authorities in Sofia are fearing a potential devastating fourth COVID-19 wave as the Delta variant finds fertile ground with only 14 % of the country’s population having received at least one dose, and just 11.2% fully vaccinated.
Bulgaria is by far the EU country with the lowest vaccination rate, largely due to the influence of the anti-vaxxers. Fake news on social media and anti-vaccination sentiments, including among healthcare workers, are contributing to the phenomenon.
So far there have been seven Delta variant cases detected in the country.
At the same time, Bulgaria is opening up to Russian tourists after regular flights between the two countries resumed on Monday, despite Russia already experiencing a new wave triggered by the Delta variant. The vaccination rate in Russia is even lower than in Bulgaria.
According to an executive order by the health ministry dated 18 May, Bulgaria accepts tourists with vaccination certificates for the European-approved vaccines, but also for the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and the two Chinese jabs.
“The Delta variant will cause a new wave by the end of September if a new variant does not appear by then,” Chief Health Inspector Angel Kunchev said.
According to experts the Delta variant may become dominant in August and incoming tourists may pose an additional risk, given the small number of vaccinated people.
Kunchev advised Bulgarians to get vaccinated as soon as possible.