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English Section

Poland receives first delivery of AstraZeneca vaccine

06.02.2021 13:40
A delivery of 120,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed jointly by AstraZeneca and Oxford University arrived in Poland on Saturday morning, officials announced.
Photo:PAP/Łukasz Gągulski

The shipment was transferred to a Material Reserves Agency warehouse, from where it will be distributed to pharmaceutical wholesalers and then to hospitals and vaccination sites across the country, the PAP news agency reported.

Michał Dworczyk, the official spearheading Poland's inoculation drive, told the agency that by the end of February, around one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are to be delivered to the country.

According to previous government announcements, further deliveries of the vaccines are expected on February 10, 17 and 28.

The first batch of 10,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived in Poland  on December 26.

A day later a 52-year-old Warsaw hospital nurse became the first Pole to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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 had approved, as countries stepped up inoculation efforts amid fears of more contagious strains of the coronavirus.

The first delivery of 27,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Poland on January 12, followed by a further 42,000 doses on January 31.

In the first quarter of this year, around 3.1 million people are expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19 throughout the country.

Frontline healthcare workers are first in line to be inoculated, followed by nursing home residents, the elderly, people with chronic health conditions, teachers, police, and soldiers.

Poland last week began administering COVID-19 vaccines to its senior citizens.

People over 80 have been able to sign up for COVID-19 shots since January 15. A week later, registration opened to those in the 70+ age group.

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

The European Union, of which Poland is part, has struck deals to secure vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTechAstraZenecaModernaCureVacSanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson.

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

Last Wednesday, the country's health minister said that Poland had ordered 85 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in total, enough to inoculate 50 million people, more than its population of around 38 million.

Around 6,000 vaccination sites are available to citizens as the country rolls out its COVID-19 vaccination program.

The Polish prime minister's chief of staff, Michał Dworczyk, said last month that a move by Pfizer to reduce the supply of COVID-19 shots had forced Poland to modify its vaccination plans.

The government at the end of December launched a media campaign called Szczepimy Się (Let's Get Vaccinated) to encourage Poles to get COVID-19 shots.

Poland on Saturday reported 5,965 new coronavirus infections and 283 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases during the pandemic to 1,545,530 and fatalities to 38,994.


Source: IAR, PAP