Warsaw, Poland (AP) —Polish Health Minister said Poland’s health minister secured more influenza vaccines from international producers amid a national shortage driven by increased demand for coronavirus during a pandemic He said he was trying.
Health Minister Adam Nizierski said Poland is generally in short supply of influenza because Poland generally has very low influenza immunization rates and orders for this fall and winter were based on last year’s demand. He told RadioZet that his ministry would meet with major vaccine suppliers on Monday to explore the possibility of getting more vaccine shipments.
During the last flu season, he said, only about 1.5 million people, or 4% of Poland’s 38 million people, were vaccinated against the flu. About 100,000 vaccines were used.
The low rate of influenza vaccination in Poland is the result of widespread distrust of pharmaceutical companies and vaccination.
During the swine flu outbreak 10 years ago, Poland was the only country in the world to reject the vaccine because of safety concerns and distrust of pharmaceutical companies. Many Poles felt their government justified when the outbreak turned out not to be as deadly as they initially feared.
However, concerns about COVID-19 have created unprecedented demand for influenza vaccines. Gazeta Wyborcza reported daily on Tuesday that Polish pharmacies were unable to meet demand and created a waiting list for future deliveries.
Polish pharmacy spokesman Tomaschereno said he expects the situation to improve with new births in late September and early October.
Health experts have emphasized that this year’s seasonal influenza vaccine is of particular importance because reducing the number of influenza cases can protect medical resources for treating COVID-19 patients.
“Both are respiratory illnesses and are likely to burden the same part of the healthcare system at the same time,” said the health minister of neighboring Germany in western Poland on Tuesday.
Jens Spawn said Germany ordered 26 million vaccines during the flu season, a significant increase over the 18-19 million that the country normally buys.
“If we manage together and have a very high flu shot rate and actually used all 26 million times, I would be a very happy health minister,” he said.
Frank Jordan of Berlin contributed to this report.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak And https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
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