SOFIA, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Bulgaria plans to start vaccinations against COVID-19 on Dec. 27 in three of its main cities, chief health inspector Angel Kunchev said on Sunday.
Along with other European Union members, Bulgaria has been waiting for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to approve the vaccine developed by U.S. drug company Pfizer and BioNTech. The EMA is expected to make an announcement on Dec. 21.
Kunchev said that trucks loaded with vaccine shots are expected to ship from Belgium to all European Union member states on Dec. 24 and estimated the batch for Bulgaria will arrive in the country late on Dec. 25 or early on Dec. 26.
“We are prepared and will start vaccinations from the following day, Dec. 27, in hospitals in the cities of Sofia, Varna and Burgas,” he told BNT TV channel.
The Dec. 27 start date – confirmed by EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen – will be almost three weeks after the world’s first fully tested COVID-19 vaccination was administered in England.
The first batch of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine will be of only 10,000 shots, Kunchev said, but he added that country expects to receive another 57,000 shots in January and bigger dispatches from February onwards in the country of 7 million people.
Bulgaria reported 1,002 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, bringing the total to 191,029, including 6,551 deaths. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova Editing by David Goodman )