Poland Overhauls Covid Vaccine Rules to Speed Up Rollout

Poland will scrap age restrictions and move to mass vaccination of its population starting next month as the European Union’s fifth most populous state races against time to contain a record surge in coronavirus cases.

Starting from April 12, more and more adult Poles will be eligible to get a shot and everyone should be able to sign up for a jab in May, the cabinet’s Covid response chief, Minister Michal Dworczyk, told a news conference on Tuesday. The government wants to work with large companies to set up vaccination points for their employees and train more people to administer shots as the country expects to receive regular supplies of vaccine doses.

Poland is suffering its worst surge in new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic with hospitals filling up and ventilators in short supply. The changes are part of an attempt by the government to boost its inoculation campaign after Poland dropped below the European Union average in terms of vaccination rate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The government has so far administered 6 million doses, including 2 million people who received both shots. It wants to carry out 20 million jabs by mid-year and accommodate “all who want vaccines” in the nation of 38 million by the end of August, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

Morawiecki has blamed the European Commission for its stumbling vaccination rollout that led to some deliveries being delayed or canceled. Poland is currently vaccinating seniors aged 60 or more, teachers, military personnel and first responders after first rolling out inoculations among the most exposed citizens, including doctors and retirement home staff.

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