About one-fifth of adult Bulgarians are already fully vaccinated. The other one-fifth are still not vaccinated but state that they intend to get a vaccine – not a small part of them have probably postponed the vaccine after having been previously infected with the disease. However, there are 45% that are neither vaccinated, nor do they intend to get a vaccine. Among them the young people and the representatives of the ghettoized and marginalized communities stand out. There are about one-tenth that do not know or they would not like to give a response regarding vaccination. In conclusion, our society seems to be divided into two halves – the first one is vaccinated or states that they intend to, while the other one has neither vaccinated, nor do they intend to. Moreover, some of those who claim that they will get vaccinated might express expectations, rather than an honest answer.
The data is from the regular independent survey part of the thirty-year program of “Gallup International Balkan” conducted between 2nd and 10th of September using the method of face-to-face interviews.
The respondents of the national sample were asked to indicate which one of the few options personally applies to them. “I am vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine against coronavirus”, say 5%. 19.2% say they are vaccinated with two doses. These 19.2% correspond to more than a million of adult Bulgarians. The general coverage of declarations of respondents and the official statistics can be seen. Some of the used vaccines in the country, however, predict only one dose and there is already vaccination among underage. Thus, an exact comparability of declarative data and official statistics should not be expected.
21.5% admit that they are not vaccinated but intend to get a vaccine in the future. Who are they? It seems that the most remarkable criteria for this group is having prior been infected with the disease as the greater part of the representative people claim. If among the whole sample more than one-third of the adults testify that they have prior been infected with the disease, then among the answer option “I am not vaccinated, but I will vaccinate against coronavirus” the proportion of those who have fallen ill with the disease is higher – about two-fifth. The hypothesis that the prior infection of many with the disease partly counts for the falling behind with the vaccines is valid. Thus, they are not in a hurry to get vaccinated or it is not a priority.
The sociological data for prior infections with the disease, of course, should be reported conditionally – as far as it is mostly about declarative answers on a very delicate topic. In addition, asymptomatic illness cannot be reported. Still, the indicators show consistent trends in the agency’s series of monthly waves of surveys – which is why they could be taken as a good starting point. They show that the number of diseased in our country is many times higher than the officially reported ones. And if, for example, the percentages are experimentally applied not only to adults, but to all Bulgarians, it can be said that nearly 2.5 million have undergone the disease. And with asymptomatic cases, this number can be even higher.
In the study there is also about one-tenth of the responses that are of people who fail to choose an option in terms of vaccines or in terms of prior infection with the disease. If their responses are deducted, the levels of diseased and/or vaccination rates can be calculated at even higher levels. With all possible alternative explanations, this further shows that immunity among Bulgarians is actually not at such low levels. However, this is obviously more due to being previously infected with the disease than to vaccination.
45.1% choose the option “I am not vaccinated and I will not vaccinate against coronavirus”. The 45% of those who refuse vaccination are conditionally equal to nearly 2.5 million adult Bulgarians. If the conclusions are extended to minors as well, it would be talked about much more.
What kind of people are these? Demographic sections show that young people are visibly higher represented in this group than in the groups of those being vaccinated or intending to be vaccinated. To a greater extent, and perhaps in connection with the aforementioned, there are also representatives of marginalized communities, Roma and other groups facing social inequalities. Among the older groups in our country, vaccination is above the summarized levels for the sample. Vaccination is higher (respectively the unwillingness to vaccinate is lower) in the capital as well. In the group of those who refuse vaccination, it seems that the case is no different than the general picture of the disease.
The reasons for refusing vaccination are subject to further discussion and investigation. In any case, 45% refusal in principle raises concerns. Moreover, answers such as “I am not vaccinated, but I will vaccinate against coronavirus” do not exclude insincere, socially desirable answers.
There are more vaccinated people after the time of the survey. But this does not change the fact that the proportion of about 45% of respondents is stable in several waves of research. Meanwhile, the topic is already undergoing partial ideologisation.
Gallup International Balkan is the agency in Bulgaria with the richest archive of national and international research on the subject. You may find them in the “Health” section.
The sample is representative of the adult population of the country. The study was conducted by means of tablets, between September 2 and 10, among 1,007 people using the “face to face” method. The absolute maximum error is ± 3.1% for 50% shares. 1% of the total sample is about 55 thousand people.