Antoaneta GETOVA and Kamen KOVACHEV (University of Sofia, Bulgaria)
The pandemic of COVID 19 put to test the health systems of many countries, but its consequences are not only medical: the economic and the political crisis, originated by the pandemic, is obvious. It is even more visible during the vaccination campaigns that were not widely accepted in many countries, and it led to strong opposition among the population, including street protests as well as refusals to vaccinate and spreading of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories in social media. All these problems are caused to a larger degree by mistakes in the communication of the vaccination campaigns and political leaders’ attitude to the vaccination that often vary from indifference to clear opposition in some countries as Brazil, for example. The report analyses communication problems and mistakes of the Bulgarian COVID vaccination campaign that led to the fact that Bulgaria is, at least for now, the EU country with the lowest rate of the COVID vaccination. At the moment, approximately only 22% of the Bulgarian population are fully vaccinated, no matter that there are enough quantities of every approved vaccine in the EU, and thousands of vaccination centres were opened, where vaccination is voluntary and free of charge. However, Bulgaria ranks last as regards COVID vaccination in the European Union. The presentation analyses the reasons behind this dark record from communicational and sociological point of view.