Photo BGNES, archive
The Ministry of Health has created a specialized website for immunizations in Bulgaria.
It was presented during a seminar for journalists “Vaccines and vaccine prevention”. “There are five clusters in the attitude towards vaccines in Bulgarian society. About 25% are staunch supporters of vaccines, about 20% are skeptics who can be influenced through targeted messages, and only about 12% are staunch anti-vaxxers”. This was stated by the Deputy Health Minister Assoc. Mihail Okoliyski.
“The Bulgarian anti-vaxxer with 15% representativeness makes noise as if for 115%. Our weapon to fight this, unfortunately, is not science. The decision whether to vaccinate is emotional, not rational. People need to understand that vaccination is for them good – if they understand it, they will do it,” said the chief state health inspector Assoc. Angel Kunchev, writes BGNES.
For the purposes of the new website of the Ministry of Health, the Plus Me platform – which was launched during the pandemic to provide information about vaccines against COVID-19 – has been used. The updated portal presents data on mandatory and recommended immunizations, each of the diseases against which the vaccines are aimed, as well as the National vaccination programs implemented in Bulgaria. Answers to the most frequently asked questions and refutation of the most common myths related to vaccines can be found on the site.
At the seminar, a UNICEF study commissioned by the Ministry of Health “Attitudes towards the implementation of the Bulgarian immunization calendar for children” was presented. According to the results, 61% of parents of children up to 4 years old are in support of mandatory vaccines and would give all and even additional vaccines. Regarding general practitioners, 83.7% of them are united around the opinion that vaccines from the immunization calendar for children aged 0 to 6 years should remain mandatory.
During the seminar, Dr. Kremena Parmakova, Directorate of “Protection of Public Health and Health Control” of the Ministry of Health announced that the application of the new vaccine – Gardasil 9 under the National Program for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer has already begun. Thus, girls from 10 years old to 13 years 11 months and 29 days can receive a vaccine against human papilloma virus (HPV) free of charge. Two doses are required to build up effective protection. Until now, Gardasil vaccines were provided free of charge under the Program. “Every third woman in Bulgaria between the ages of 14 and 55 is a carrier of HPV infection,” said Dr. Parmakova and added that the safest way to prevent human papilloma viruses is vaccination.
At the forum, it became clear that the application of the new adapted vaccine against the XBB-variant of COVID-19 will begin on Wednesday /September 27/. 80,000 doses have already been distributed in the Regional Health Inspections. The vaccines are intended for persons over 12 years old, and in the coming week the delivery of vaccines for children between 6 months and 11 years is also expected.
Dr. Radosveta Filipova, Directorate “Protection of Public Health and Health Control” at the Ministry of Health, stated that under the National Program for Improving Vaccine Prevention of Seasonal Influenza and Pneumococcal Infections in Persons 65 and Over, this year funding was provided for 370 544 flu vaccines. Over the next 3 years, their number will gradually increase, with the goal being to reach 35% coverage of the target group in 2026.
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