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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish medical university chief urged to quit over jabs-for-celebs scandal

12.01.2021 07:05
Poland’s health minister has called for the resignation of the rector of the Warsaw Medical University after it allowed a group of household-name actors and politicians to jump the queue for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Health Minister Adam Niedzielski
Health Minister Adam Niedzielski Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

Following a probe into what the Polish media has dubbed a jabs-for-celebrities scandal, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Monday that over 30 people who were eligible for shots and had wanted them were not vaccinated.

Niedzielski added that allowing some people to jump the queue was a breach of ethical standards.

He told reporters that a medical centre owned by the Warsaw Medical University which administered the shots to celebrities would be fined nearly PLN 350,000 (some EUR 77,000, USD 94,000).


The rector of the Warsaw Medical University, Zbigniew Gaciong. Photo: PAP/Mateusz Marek
The rector of the Warsaw Medical University, Zbigniew Gaciong. Photo: PAP/Mateusz Marek

Jabs in Poland are for the time being supposed to be offered to frontline healthcare workers, though there are a few exceptions.

The list of celebrities who jumped the queue includes leftist former Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller and well-known Polish actors Krystyna Janda, Andrzej Seweryn and Wiktor Zborowski.

Some of the actors and politicians have said they thought they were taking part in a campaign to promote vaccinations in Poland, and that they would be inoculated from a pool of shots which could have been wasted otherwise.

‘No evidence’ of campaign promoting shots

But Niedzielski said on Monday that checks had not found any documents confirming that a promotional campaign had been underway at the Warsaw university.

Poland’s frontline healthcare workers are first in line to be inoculated against the coronavirus, to be followed by pensioners in nursing homes, people over 60, police, soldiers and teachers.

Citizens over 80 will be able to sign up for COVID-19 shots from January 15.

Poland on Monday reported 4,622 new coronavirus infections and 75 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 1,390,385 and fatalities to 31,264.

(pk)

Source: IAR/PAP