Opposition leader wants vaccinations on weekends

Kosiniak-Kamysz said the authorities should start vaccinating citizens during the weekends and open up large-scale vaccination centres. Leszek Szymański/PAP

A main opposition leader has called for vaccinations to take place on the weekends as part of a proposed overhaul of the country’s vaccination programme.

Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, leader of the Polish People's Party, who is also a medical doctor, on Thursday put forward three proposals that would increase the vaccination levels.

The national vaccination programme, launched at the end of December, has come under attack in Poland, with critics claiming that it is too slow.

Speaking to private TV news channel TVN24, Kosiniak-Kamysz said the authorities should start vaccinating citizens during the weekends and open up large-scale vaccination centres.

He added that pharmacists, dentists and opticians should also be included in the group of medical staff that can receive the jabs first.

Kosiniak-Kamysz also criticised the government for stockpiling vaccine doses.

"We shouldn't maintain this buffer for a second dose, given that there is a stable supply chain,” he suggested. “We should use up all the ampoules for vaccinations, instead of keeping them locked up for three weeks."

Two jabs of the vaccine are needed to reach the required immunity level and the government says the second dose needs to be put away to ensure everyone gets the second shot at the prescribed time.

Stanisław Karczewski, a senator from the ruling Law and Justice party, who is also a medical doctor, was quick to criticise Kosiniak-Kamysz's idea.

"Vaccines are not sweets,” he wrote on Twitter. “They are not given out from a paper bag. A vaccination point must meet high medical standards and must ensure the safety of the vaccinated person."

Poland has so far received over a million doses of coronavirus vaccines from the US/German consortium Pfizer/BioNTech, and the US biotech company Moderna. By Wednesday afternoon, the number of people vaccinated was close to 338,000.

Medical staff, designated as the "zero group," are receiving the shots first. From Friday, they will be followed by senior citizens over 80 years of age, and by people aged 70-79 a week later.