Sofia, 24 December 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Bulgaria, a Covid-19 vaccine laggard in the European Union, is offering cash rewards to elderly people who receive their jab.
Bulgarian retirees will receive 75 levs (43 dollars) for getting vaccinated. The one-off incentive scheme will run through the end of June, local news outlets reported.
The Eastern European country has the lowest vaccination rate in the 27-member European Union. Only 27 per cent of residents have received two doses. Of them, only 3 per cent have had a third booster shot.
“There is a danger that Bulgaria will become a Covid ghetto,” well-known Bulgarian virologist Radka Argirova has warned.
The special payments are meant to accelerate the vaccine drive in a bid to better protect the population against the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Many in Bulgaria have refused to get vaccinated owing to mistrust in the government and conspiracy theories circulating online.
After a fourth wave peaked in early November, case numbers in Bulgaria are declining. The seven-day incidence on Friday was 149.2 per 100,000 people.