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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish COVID-19 advisors resign over lack of clout

15.01.2022 09:30
Thirteen out of 17 members of Polish government’s Medical Council on COVID-19 on Friday tendered their resignations, citing a lack of influence on government policy, the state PAP news agency reported.
Audio
Prof. Robert Flisiak, one of the 13 COVID-19 advisors of the Polish government who resigned on Friday.
Prof. Robert Flisiak, one of the 13 COVID-19 advisors of the Polish government who resigned on Friday.PAP/Tomasz Gzell

In a statement sent to PAP, the scientists wrote they had “asked the Prime Minister to accept our resignations” due to “a lack of influence of our recommendations on concrete action.” They added that “our cooperation so far has run its course.”

“As the Medical Council, we have been repeatedly accused of having insufficient influence on government policy,” the advisors stated. 

“At the same time, we have been witnessing growing tolerance towards the conduct of those who deny the threat of COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination in combating the pandemic, tolerance which was reflected in statements made by cabinet members or public officials,” the thirteen experts wrote. 

They added that “the discrepancy between scientific and medical evidence and policy” became “especially pronounced” as the authorities “took very limited action in the face of the autumn wave, and then against the threat from the Omicron variant, despite the projected enormous number of deaths.”

“We had watched with increasing frustration the lack of political support for introducing optimal and globally tested measures to fight the pandemic,” the thirteen advisors stated.    

In its last set of recommendations, issued earlier on Friday, the Medical Council had called for “an urgent increase in the vaccination rate, especially among those aged over 60” and “an urgent administering of booster doses.”

Prof. Andrzej Horban, the government’s chief COVID-19 advisor, was not among the 13 Medical Council members who quit on Friday, PAP reported.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has tasked Health Minister Adam Niedzielski with ”creating a new format for the Medical Council,” following the resignation of 13 of its members, government officials said, as quoted by PAP. 

Poland on Friday reported 16,047 new coronavirus infections and 423 more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the country's total number of cases during the pandemic to 4,281,482 and fatalities to 101,841.

(pm)

Source: PAP

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Michał Owczarek.