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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland plans 8,000 COVID-19 vaccination sites, first shots likely next month: PM's top aide

04.12.2020 12:55
Some 8,000 vaccination sites are expected to be set up across Poland as the country prepares to roll out its COVID-19 immunization program, the Polish prime minister's top aide announced on Friday.
Mchał Dworczyk, chief of staff to Polands conservative Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Mіchał Dworczyk, chief of staff to Poland's conservative Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.Photo: Wojciech Kusiński/Polish Radio

"Our aim is to have a vaccination point set up in every district," Michał Dworczyk, chief of staff to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, said, adding that the first shots were likely to be administered next month.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Health Minister Adam Niedzielski, Dworczyk said that a list of vaccination sites would be made available to the public by December 15.

The government will then launch a public awareness campaign, complete with a special hotline and website with detailed information on available vaccines and the immunization procedure, Dworczyk told reporters.

He added that some 40,000 to 50,000 medical staff were expected to join the nationwide operation to vaccinate the public against the SAR-CoV-2 virus, which has killed more than 19,000 in the country.

Dworczyk told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Friday that "it looks like the first batches of vaccines will reach Poland in January" once they are approved for use in the European Union.

The approval process is likely to end in late December or early next month, Dworczyk said.

Photo: Photo: PAP/EPA/BIONTECH SE/HANDOUT

The Polish prime minister said on Wednesday, December 2, that his country had placed orders for 45 million doses of vaccines with companies such as Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson and that free, voluntary, two-stage vaccinations against the coronavirus could start in February. 

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last month that millions of vaccines against the coronavirus were likely to reach his country next spring as part of a European deal with drug makers.

He added that vaccines would be made available to citizens on an optional basis and be first administered to senior citizens, healthcare professionals and law enforcement personnel.

Morawiecki said on November 13 that his government has set up a working group with experts from US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer amid efforts to make a COVID-19 vaccine available to Poles as quickly as possible.

In mid-November, Morawiecki also talked with executives from global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca as part of efforts to secure a COVID-19 vaccine for Poland, state news agency PAP reported.

The European Union, of which Poland is part, has already struck deals to secure vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTechAstraZeneca, ModernaCureVacSanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson, taking its potential stock of COVID-19 shots to nearly 2 billion, news agencies have reported.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) could produce a scientific opinion on COVID-19 vaccines seeking regulatory approval by the end of the year in a best case scenario, the regulator's new chief was quoted as saying last week.

Britain on Wednesday, December 2, became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for general use, with plans to roll it out from early next week.

Poland on Friday reported 13,239 new coronavirus infections and 531 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 1,041,846 and fatalities to 19,359.

(gs/pk)

Source: PAP, IAR, TVP Info