WHO Representative for Bulgaria: The Pandemic may be Over by the End of 2022, but Not in BulgariaHealth | January 10, 2022, Monday // 12:17| views
The pandemic may end by the end of 2022, but only in countries that are successfully fighting the virus. For Bulgaria, this forecast is not valid, said on bTV Assoc. Prof. Mihail Okoliyski, WHO representative for Bulgaria.
"The evidence that Omicron is lighter is very optimistic. At the moment, it is clear that the virus finds unvaccinated people very quickly, which is also true for countries such as Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, which have more than 80% coverage of vaccine people," said Okoliyski.
According to him, the fact that so many people are infected in such a short time will seriously burden the health systems and lead to more people with more serious complications. He added that if a person is vaccinated, they are less likely to become infected with Omicron, but even if they do, the disease is much milder.
The WHO representative warned of the danger of new mutations in countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, where vaccination coverage is low.
Assoc. Prof. Okoliyski cites a survey conducted by the WHO and the Ministry of Health, which shows that only 12% of Bulgarians are real anti-vaxxers. The percentage of people who are skeptical and have fears and the need for adequate information is higher - 50%. "People need someone to talk to them in an empathetic and warm way, there needs to be dialogue," he said.
Asked if there is a risk of Florina (a combination of influenza and coronavirus) in our country, Okoliyski commented that there is.
"Seasonal flu, although mild, is also present. The double combination of coronavirus and seasonal flu is even more deadly and this is worrying. Before the pandemic, we lost about 2,000 people a year because of the seasonal flu, despite the availability of vaccines and a national program that funds them," he said.
The associate professor also commented on the post-covid effect on the psyche:
"It has been found that about 30% of people develop a mental illness after a coronavirus infection: anxiety disorder, depression. That is why it is important to build a strategy for risk communication. A working group at the Ministry of Health is currently creating such a strategy, with an action plan on how to inform people about the benefits of vaccination. Training of general practitioners is planned," said Okoliyski.
The WHO supports the vaccination of children and adolescents. Schools should be the last places to close during lockdowns, so children and their teachers should be protected, said the representative of the WHO in Bulgaria, Assoc. Prof. Mihail Okoliyski.
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