WARSAW, Feb. 4 — Some 1.3 million people in Poland has so far received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 289,000 got a second jab, showed information on the government website Thursday.
The government aims to vaccinate 3 million Poles by the end of March. So far, over 94 percent of medical doctors and 80 percent of care home inhabitants have received at least one shot, government coordinator Michal Dworczyk said on Monday.
The country is also expected to distribute the AstraZeneca vaccine — which Poland has ordered 16 million doses so far — after the European Commission’s fast-track approval procedure. All these doses are to be gradually received until the end of the second quarter.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has so far established the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at 59.5 percent, the head of Poland’s Office for Registration of Medicinal Products Grzegorz Cessak said on Wednesday.
Cessak said during a press conference that the efficacy of the Oxford-developed jab is comparable to the common flu shot, and the clinical trial review at the EMA is ongoing, pending results from trials conducted in the United States.
The European Commission granted conditional marketing authorization for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine late last month after the EMA issued a positive scientific recommendation based on a thorough assessment of the safety, effectiveness, and quality of the vaccine.
It was the third COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the EU, after Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
The AstraZeneca vaccine’s main practical difference with those developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech is that it is easier to store and transport and that it has a longer shelf life, Cessak said.
While the EMA has given no recommendation about the age groups for the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Polish Medicine Council has already advised limiting the vaccine for citizens under the age of 60, in line with other EU countries.
Since the start of the pandemic, 1.5 million Poles have at one point tested positive for the coronavirus, and 37,476 died.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 237 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 63 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan. 29.