As part of its mission to protect the health and lives of Bulgarian citizens, the Bulgarian Red Cross continues its activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The comprehensive programme developed by the organization has received funding in the amount of over 3 million BGN from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the global appeal of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The beginning of the activities under the program was set at a specially organized event in front of the BRC Headquarters. It was attended by: Prof. Asena Serbezova, Minister of Health; Andrea Brouillette-Rodriguez, US Deputy Chief of Mission in Bulgaria; Dr. Skender Sila, a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Bulgaria; Acad. Hristo Grigorov, President of the Bulgarian Red Cross; Prof. Dr. Krassimir Gigov, Director General of the Bulgarian Red Cross, and Denitsa Baramova, Program Manager.

The implementation of the programme aims to expand the scope of COVID-19 vaccination and support the most vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic. The activities will be adapted to the complex situation that involves the conflict in Ukraine and the need to support new vulnerable communities. To achieve this goal, the following activities will be carried out:

5 mobile vaccination points will be set up;

52,000 people from vulnerable groups, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will be provided with personal hygiene packages;

3,485 children from vulnerable groups will receive both educational and creative kits;

Health promotion programmes and practices for Roma communities in the country will be organized together with the National Network of Health Mediators;

The support for promoting the mental health of people in need will continue through 1,500 free psychosocial consultations by qualified psychologists through the BRC Contact Center hotline and an online chatbot to provide up-to-date and reliable information.

 “The vaccination coverage in Bulgaria is below the required level. Around 2 million people have not yet encountered the Corona virus, which means that we are not sufficiently protected. The removal of the COVID-19 restrictions by the government is good news, but we must not think that the pandemic has come to an end. We believe that with the implementation of this programme, the Bulgarian Red Cross will help thousands of citizens to choose health over fear and get vaccinated, as billions of people around the world have already done”  shared, Prof. Dr. Krassimir Gigov, Director General of the Bulgarian Red Cross, at the launch of the new activities. 

Even as the world begins to emerge from the worst of the pandemic, we must remain vigilant and continue to guard the most vulnerable among us against a new wave of COVID-19 in Bulgaria. This new initiative from the Bulgarian Red Cross, funded by the United States Agency for International Development, will get assistance directly to those most in need, and continue the good work that will safely end this pandemic. Together, we are getting closer to victory over COVID-19.” Shared, United States to Bulgaria Ambassador Herro Mustafa. 

"We are thankful for the support we have received from USAID, and we are thankful for the good cooperation with the Bulgarian Red Cross. It is crucial to not stop talking about the vaccines against COVID-19 because the virus still has not gone. Although we are no longer living in an emergency situation since April 1, the coronavirus infection is still here. Now is the time to be responsible. Leading experts from around the world warn that there may be a new wave in the fall. Whether this happens or not, we must do everything we can for the vulnerable groups to be vaccinated." said Prof. Asena Serbezova, Minister of Health.

Minister Serbezova noted that the Bulgarian Red Cross always has a partner in the face of the Ministry of Health and expressed her hope that the joint efforts to promote the vaccination process against COVID-19 in the country will give good results. "It is of key importance to work with the society’s vulnerable groups and I believe that the measures provided in both campaigns will convince more Bulgarian citizens to protect themselves from the severe course of the virus", added Prof. Serbezova.

With the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, USAID, and the Embassy of the United States in Bulgaria, the BRC aims to reach more than 500,000 people with life-saving information and more than 55,000 people with direct support across the country.