Poland analysing non-EU purchase of vaccines

Łukasz Gągulski/PAP

The Polish government has been analysing the purchase of coronavirus vaccines from outside the EU collective system because vaccine shortages are slowing down the inoculation of vulnerable groups.

Speaking to private radio broadcaster RMF FM, Michal Dworczyk, head of the Prime Minister's Office, said there is a possibility to acquire the vaccines outside the EU system.

"Theoretically, this is possible, but this would be a breach of the agreement signed by the European Commission," Dworczyk said, adding that, nevertheless, the government was analysing the possibility.

The official also said that "Germany has violated this provision" during its presidency of the EU.

"Germany was negotiating the EU agreement on the supplies of vaccines only to violate it a moment later," he went on to say.

"Germany and other countries are speaking of solidarity and the need to observe principles and rules, and today we can see an example of what this EU solidarity looks like in practice," Dworczyk commented.

He also expressed criticism of the inefficiency of EU negotiations, saying that "non-EU countries (...) have negotiated better deals with producers and are receiving more vaccines and more quickly."

Poland is in the process of vaccinating the most vulnerable groups in society. The inoculation of the "zero group", comprising mainly medical personnel, started on December 27 and is still continuing. On January 15, the country started giving out jabs to people over 80 years old.

However, the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer has temporarily reduced the supplies of its Covid-19 vaccines to European countries as it upgrades its European plant to increase capacity.