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At the very beginning of the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in Bulgaria, we conducted a survey on the attitudes of Bulgarians towards vaccines against coronavirus.

The survey registered attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccines in Bulgaria among people over the age of 16, showing the division of society on the issue. The proportion of those who trust vaccines is equal to those who would not be vaccinated against coronavirus infection. The survey was conducted immediately after the start of the vaccination campaign in Bulgaria in early 2021 and gives grounds to look for the reasons for the polar views in society.

Efforts to mass immunize and bring the epidemic under control are undermined by irregular and uncertain supplies from producers who fail to meet global demand quickly enough. However, the main problem remains the anti-vaccination attitudes in society, as revealed by the current study. There is a lack of trust in the institutions that are the main drivers of the vaccination campaign, and hence the trust in vaccines is low.

An interesting finding of this study, which raises questions, is the fact that more than half of those living in the capital Sofia (52.2%) would get vaccinated, while this is true for between 31.5 and 38.5% of people from other provinces. This attitude towards vaccines against COVID-19, compared to the traditional immunization coverage in our country (about 90% for mandatory vaccines on the immunization calendar) suggests that the current campaign for voluntary vaccination is not properly communicated in society.


In the period 8-26 January 2021, 2182 people were interviewed through an online questionnaire. Respondents were recruited through an open invitation in posts on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as targeted advertising in them. The advertising messages in the network are aimed at persons aged between 16 and 70 on the whole territory of Bulgaria, regardless of their gender or other specific affiliation. Respondents were recruited from all 28 provinces of the country, including district towns, municipal centers and villages.


Respondents averaged 45.9 years (median 45 years), ranging from 16 to over 70 years. Men were only a quarter (26.3%), women 72.9%, and the other sex indicated 0 .9%. The largest share is living in Sofia-city district (37.7%), followed by Plovdiv (10.1%), Varna (8.9%) and Burgas (4.9%). For the purposes of the analysis, the participants were grouped according to their place of residence into four groups: Capital; Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas (24.0%); Veliko Tarnovo, Stara Zagora, Ruse, Blagoevgrad, Pleven and Dobrich (17.0%); all other areas (21.4%). In terms of confidence in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, the distribution is similar: 43.5% express confidence, 41.2% distrust and 15.3% cannot answer. Men are more likely to distrust the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines (47.5% compared to 38.5% among women). Significantly higher relative share of those living in Sofia express confidence in the effectiveness of the village, compared to other settlements (54.3% compared to between 33.3 and 39.1%). Respondents were asked to quantify their confidence in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is the lowest level of confidence and 10 is the highest). The average level of trust is 5.52 (median 6), ie. it is reaffirmed that the respondents are divided without a clear position within the study population. Similarly, the question of confidence in the safety of COVID-19 vaccines was asked, on a scale of 1 to 10. The mean confidence level is 5.05 (median 5), ie. respondents are divided and there is no predominant opinion. To the question “Do you consider yourself informed enough to decide to get vaccinated against COVID-19?” Over half of the participants (58.3%) answered in the affirmative, one in three (31.9%) gave a negative answer, and the remaining 9.8% cannot judge. Men were more likely to say that they were sufficiently informed than women (65.4% compared to 55.8% for women), while women were more likely to say “I can’t judge” (11.4%). compared to 5.1% for men). Participants were asked if they felt they needed additional information on COVID-19 vaccines to make an informed decision. Almost half (48%) answered yes to this question, another 46.8% – no, and one in twenty (5.2%) can not judge.


Public opinion on COVID-19 vaccines is clearly divided. The share of citizens is particularly high (48%), who believe that they need additional information in order to make an informed choice to get vaccinated, which shows the shortcomings in the communication strategy for the promotion of drugs. The share of respondents (75.4%) who believe that a sufficiently detailed and high-quality public campaign is not conducted to inform the public about the effectiveness and safety of vaccines is alarmingly high.

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