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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

PM encourages Poles to get AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots

19.03.2021 07:45
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has encouraged Poles to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19 using a vaccine developed by drug maker AstraZeneca.
Audio
Polands Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki seen on a screen during a virtual media briefing on Thursday.
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki seen on a screen during a virtual media briefing on Thursday.Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

He was speaking after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday said that the AstraZeneca vaccine was “safe and effective.”

The EU's drug watchdog told an online news conference it was convinced the benefits of AstraZeneca's vaccine outweighed the risks following an investigation into reports of blood disorders that prompted more than a dozen nations to suspend its use.

Emer Cooke, executive director of European Medicines Agency (EMA), seen on a screen during an online press conference on Thursday. Emer Cooke, executive director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), seen on a screen during an online press conference on Thursday. Photo: EPA/PIETER STAM DE JONGE

“The European Medicines Agency has made an important announcement that AstraZeneca's vaccine is safe,” Morawiecki told reporters while in the southern Polish city of Kraków.

“I encourage everyone eligible to take advantage of it,” he added.

Morawiecki said that the AstraZeneca vaccine "can help limit the spread of the coronavirus just as well, or almost as well, as the other vaccines."

He noted that some of the countries that had suspended vaccinations with the AstraZeneca shot were resuming the use of the vaccine.

Germany, France and Italy announced at the start of this week they were suspending AstraZeneca shots even though the World Health Organization (WHO) said there was no proven link to serious side effects, and people should not panic.

Latvia and Lithuania are set to restart administering vaccinations using AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots on Friday, the Reuters news agency reported, citing the two countries' health ministers.

In Lithuania, starting Friday, people will be able to pick which vaccine they receive, the country's Health Minister Arunas Dulkys told reporters, according to Reuters.

Officials in Warsaw told the media this week that Poland would keep administering AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine even as some countries have suspended its use amid reports of isolated cases of bleeding, blood clots and a low platelet count.

Polish health ministry spokesman Wojciech Andrusiewicz said that over half a million people had been inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in his country, with adverse reactions noted in only 0.36 percent of the cases.

A total of 4,738,902 COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered in Poland so far, including 129,399 over the last 24 hours, officials announced on Thursday.

Public health authorities said that 4,973 adverse reactions had been reported among those who received the vaccines by Thursday morning.

As of Thursday, Poland had injected more than 3 million first doses, while over 1.66 million people have received a second shot, health ministry data showed.

Poland on Thursday reported 27,278 new coronavirus infections, the highest tally since November, and 356 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases during the pandemic to 1,984,248 and fatalities to 48,388.

(gs/pk)

Source: PAP, TVP Info, Reuters

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