Citing lack of data, Polish health minister does not recommend Chinese shot

FILE PHOTO: COVID-19 vaccines are seen on a production line inside the Beijing Institute of Biological Products of Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG), during a government-organised visit to the company in Beijing, China February 26, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Wednesday he did not currently recommend using Chinese company Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine because of a lack of data.

As in other European Union countries, Poland’s vaccination programme has been hampered by delays in deliveries from producers, such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer, and on Monday an aide of Polish President Andrzej Duda said he talked with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping about buying the shot.

“At the moment I do not know of any decision, I do not know of any data that would allow for the use (of that vaccine),” Niedzielski told a news conference.

While the Sinopharm vaccine has not yet received European Union regulatory approval, Hungary last week became the first member state to start using the shot to try to accelerate its vaccination programme.

Poland’s new daily coronavirus cases jumped to 15,698 on Wednesday from 7,937 the day before, in a sign that the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating.

Niedzielski said Poland would open temporary hospitals in nine regions to help counter shortages of beds.

“The third wave is accelerating… and this is starting to affect the hospital infrastructure,” Niedzielski said.

He also said the government was sending millions of masks to northern regions worst affected by the pandemic.

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