Bulgaria to donate COVID vaccines to Bhutan after low take-up

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SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria, which has one of the lowest inoculation rates in the European Union, plans to donate some 172,500 AstraZeneca COVID vaccine doses to Bhutan, the interim government said on Wednesday.

The Balkan country faces having to throw away thousands of doses that are near their expiry dates, as many Bulgarians shun inoculations, citing fears of new medical products and wide-spread conspiracy theories about their effects.

Bulgarians can choose between four different anti-coronavirus shots approved in the European Union. Still, only 15% of Bulgarian adults are fully vaccinated, putting the country far behind its EU peers.

New coronavirus infections have slowed in the country of 7 million people, where 400,000 have already been infected and developed resistance, but authorities warn of a new wave that may pick up in the autumn.

Bulgaria has also said it plans to donate about 150,000 doses to the Western Balkan countries.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Alison Williams)