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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poles ask experts about COVID-19 at panel held by president

28.01.2022 10:00
Poland’s president has hosted a panel of experts who answered the public’s questions about the coronavirus pandemic.
The Presidential Palace in Warsaw.
The Presidential Palace in Warsaw.PAP/Albert Zawada

The event, organised by Andrzej Duda at his presidential palace on Thursday,  was shown live on television and online. 

Members of the public asked questions via email and on the president’s social media, the state PAP news agency reported. 

Experts were queried mainly about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, the presidential office said. 

Grzegorz Cessak, who heads the Office for the Registration of Therapeutic, Medical and Bio-killing Products, explained that the COVID-19 mRNa vaccines were not a new invention. Work on this technology began 30 years ago in the context of anti-cancer vaccines, he said. 

“Then, as the pandemic struck, the human, financial and organisational resources were boosted to an extent that is unprecedented in the history of infectious diseases,” Cessak told viewers. 

He added that the vaccines underwent a rigorous registration process whereby all the data on the safety, efficacy and quality of the treatment had to be provided.

“Phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials have been completed,” Cessak stressed. 

Meanwhile, virologist Krzysztof Pyrć dismissed claims that the COVID-19 vaccines led to the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus. 

“If the infection doesn’t occur, which is the aim of vaccination, then the virus is unable to multiply,” he said.

Dr. Lidia Stopyra, who leads the infectious diseases ward at a specialist hospital in the southern Polish city of Kraków, said: “Thanks to the vaccines, I feel safer.”

She added that at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a significant death rate among healthcare workers.

Stopyra also told Poles that, contrary to expectations, children turned out to be vulnerable to serious COVID-19 as the fourth wave of the pandemic demonstrated. 

Other questions put to the presidential experts included: "Is it better to undergo COVID-19 or get vaccinated? Why is COVID-19 being treated with vaccines rather than medicines? How credible are the COVID-19 tests?," according to the presidential office.

Footage of the ask-the-experts event is available on the presidential website.

(pm/gs)

Source: TVP Info, PAP