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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland to get COVID-19 vaccine in spring: PM

09.11.2020 21:00
Poland’s prime minister has said that millions of vaccines against the coronavirus are likely to reach his country next spring as part of a European deal with drug makers.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is seen on a television screen as he holds a virtual news conference on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is seen on a television screen as he holds a virtual news conference on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

Mateusz Morawiecki was speaking after US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer announced on Monday that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine with German partner BioNTech was more than 90 percent effective, based on initial trial results, priming it for possible speedy regulatory approvals.

Morawiecki told a news conference afterward that Poland would have access to the vaccine on an equal footing with other European Union members and “in proportion to the size of the population” under an agreement signed at the EU level in the summer.

"We want to have at least 20 million vaccines and we will get them at the same time as other European Union countries, because this is how the agreement we signed is structured," he said.

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

Morawiecki also said that he had issued instructions for an infrastructure to be put in place next year for nationwide vaccinations against COVID-19.

On Wednesday, an agreement will be signed with Pfizer and BioNTech for the supply of coronavirus vaccines, Morawiecki told reporters, without elaborating.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter that the EU executive was planning to sign a contract with Pfizer and BioNTech "soon for up to 300 million doses."

Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO), was quoted as saying that the vaccine could help fundamentally change the course of the coronavirus pandemic by March, when the UN agency hopes to start vaccinating high-risk groups.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted on Monday: "We welcome the encouraging vaccine news from Pfizer and BioNTech and salute all scientists and partners around the who are developing new safe, efficacious
tools to beat COVID-19.”

Poland on Monday reported 21,713 new coronavirus infections and 173 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 568,138 and fatalities to 8,045.

(gs)

Source: PAP, IAR, TVP Info, Reuters