Adam Niedzielski announced the move at a news conference in the northern city of Gdańsk on Friday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
He said the decision had been made on the basis of “an analysis of the situation in other countries, recommendations from experts and two weeks of discussions by the health ministry’s COVID-19 task force.”
Third COVID-19 booster for four groups from April 15
Niedzielski noted that “the current COVID-19 vaccine is bivalent, which means that it targets at least two strains of COVID-19,” whereas for the second booster, some people received a monovalent vaccine, targeting one strain of COVID-19.
He told reporters: “And so we have decided to make a third booster available for those who received a monovalent second booster.”
The health minister added that the third booster shot “will also be available for people past the age of 60 because this group has a higher risk of contracting COVID-19."
Niedzielski stated: “To our knowledge, some 1.8 million Poles meet these two criteria of being over 60 and/or having received a monovalent second booster.”
He told reporters that the health ministry also recommended a third booster “to healthcare personnel and people with impairments of the immune system.”
“We would like to launch the third booster on April 15,” he announced.
The latest bivalent COVID-19 vaccines are more effective than monovalent ones in neutralising the COVID-19 Omicron BA.1 variant, and possibly also other Omicron subvariants, including BA.2, BA.2.75 and BA.5, according to health officials.
‘State of epidemic emergency’ extended until April 30
Niedzielski also said on Friday that “the state of epidemic emergency” in the country had been extended until the end of April.
He added that the main reason for the extension, which prolongs certain curbs and prescriptions for citizens, “are the flu infections, which average 28,000-29,000 a day.”
Meanwhile, the daily number of COVID-19 cases “has fallen to 2,000-3,000 a day,” the health minister told reporters.
Source: PAP, cowzdrowiu.pl, abczdrowie.pl