Tuesday 1/19/21
CORONAVIRUS

Poland angry at report celebrities got first shot at vaccines

The celebrities all agreed to act as ambassadors for the vaccination drive.
A woman receives her dose of the Biontech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a hospital in Wroclaw. Photo: Krzysztof Kaniewski/dpa.
A woman receives her dose of the Biontech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a hospital in Wroclaw. Photo: Krzysztof Kaniewski/dpa.

An attempt at raising awareness about the benefits of getting vaccinated against Covid-19 might backfire for a Warsaw medical school after officials asked why some celebrities were able to get jabs that are supposed to be reserved for at-risk groups.

The scandal started on Thursday, when Warsaw's Medical University announced that it had received 450 extra vaccine doses, all of which expired at midnight that night, when 2020 ended.

The university chose to pull together a quick vaccination drive and raise awareness at the same time, lining up 300 employees to get jabs. The other 150 went to family members of the employees, some hospital patients and 18 "well-known personalities of art and culture."

The celebrities all agreed to act as ambassadors for the vaccination drive. A university spokesperson would not tell the Polish news agency PAP which celebrities had been involved.

But the chance that some well-connected people might have skipped to the front of the vaccination line amid a pandemic has rankled. Supplies of the vaccine are short everywhere, and most countries have prioritized the treatments for medical staff or at-risk populations.

Investigation

Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said there will now be a check to see whether procedures were followed on Thursday. He said it would be absolutely unacceptable if rules were not followed during the vaccination process.

He said on Friday that he expects personal consequences should it emerge that "criteria of privilege" had been used in deciding who should get the vaccine.

Poland's plan calls for medical personnel and emergency crews to get the vaccine first.

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