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English Section

360,000 more doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Poland

11.01.2021 09:30
A new shipment of 360,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech arrived in Poland by air on Monday, officials announced.
Photo:
Photo:PAP/EPA/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO

The plane carrying the vaccine landed at Warsaw’s Chopin Airport in the early morning, Michał Kuczmierowski, head of the country's Material Reserves Agency (ARM), told the media.

He added that the shipment would be transferred to one of the agency's warehouses, from where it would be distributed to pharmaceutical wholesalers and then to hospitals and vaccination sites across the country.

Michał Kuczmierowski, head of Poland's Material Reserves Agency (ARM). Michał Kuczmierowski, head of Poland's Material Reserves Agency (ARM). Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Michałowski

A 52-year-old Warsaw hospital nurse on December 27 became the first Pole to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The first batch of 10,000 vaccine doses arrived in the country a day earlier.

On Monday, December 28, a new shipment of 300,000 doses reached Poland by air, followed by a further 360,000 doses delivered a week later.

By January 10, a total of 200,022 people had been vaccinated for COVID-19 across the country, according to data released by officials on Sunday.

The immunization effort began after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on December 21 recommended conditional approval for a coronavirus vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech for use across the European Union.

That decision by the EU regulator was subsequently greenlighted by the bloc’s executive, the European Commission.

The European Medicines Agency on Wednesday, January 6, gave the green light to a COVID-19 vaccine developed by US drug maker Moderna, the second shot it has approved as countries step up inoculation efforts amid fears of more contagious strains of the coronavirus.

Poland expects to receive around 840,000 doses of Moderna's vaccine by the end of the first quarter of this year, according to the prime minister’s top aide, Michał Dworczyk.

A first batch of 27,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine is expected to arrive in Poland on Tuesday.

The European Union, of which Poland is part, has struck deals to secure vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTechAstraZenecaModernaCureVacSanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson, taking its potential stock of COVID-19 shots to around 2.3 billion, according to European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.

Polish officials have said they expect nearly 1.5 million coronavirus vaccine doses to reach their country by the end of January.

In the first quarter of this year, a total of 2.94 million people are expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19 throughout the country.

Frontline healthcare workers are first in line to be vaccinated, followed by pensioners in nursing homes, people over 60, police, soldiers and teachers.

Citizens over 80 will be able to sign up for COVID-19 shots from January 15.

Poland plans to spend PLN 3 billion (EUR 675 million, USD 820 million) on over 60 million doses of coronavirus vaccines under a national inoculation program adopted by the government.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced last month that his government had secured vaccines for the Polish population from six leading international drug makers.

Around 6,000 vaccination sites will be available to citizens as the country rolls out its COVID-19 vaccination program. Initially, the government planned to set up around 8,000 such sites nationwide.

The government last month launched a media campaign called Szczepimy Się (Let's Get Vaccinated) to encourage Poles to get COVID-19 shots.

Poland by Monday had reported a total of 1,385,522 infections since the start of the pandemic and 31,189 deaths linked to the coronavirus.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info