Agnieszka Wądołowska – Notes From Poland April 29, 2021
The city council of Wałbrzych has approved a resolution making COVID-19 vaccinations obligatory for its residents and people working in the city.
The mayor of the city in southwestern Poland, Roman Szełemej, who is the driving force behind the regulation, said that he will appeal to the health ministry to make vaccination against COVID-19 compulsory at national level.
Wałbrzych’s city council approved the mayor’s draft resolution “concerning the introduction of obligatory COVID-19 vaccination for citizens of Wałbrzych and other people working in the city” by a large majority – with 22 councillors in support and just three against.
The resolution is now in the hands of the provincial governor, who oversees district councils and will decide whether to uphold it.
Radni Rady Miejskiej Wałbrzycha stosunkiem głosów 22 (za) do 3 (przeciw) przyjęli Uchwałę w sprawie wprowadzenia obowiązku szczepień przeciwko COVID-19 przez mieszkańców Wałbrzycha oraz inne osoby wykonujące pracę na terenie miasta. #Wałbrzych @RomanSzelemej pic.twitter.com/UCW2haYjAk
— Edward Szewczak (@edoszewczak) April 29, 2021
“Soon the lack of vaccine doses will not be the real problem, as we will have as many as we need, but then it may well turn out that we have the slowest vaccination rate in Europe,” Szełemej told Gazeta Wyborcza.
Pointing out that many people in Poland are still unwilling to get vaccinated, Szełemej said that now is the right moment to consider making the vaccination obligatory for everyone throughout the country. He said that he would be appealing to the health ministry for it to be added to the list of infectious diseases for which vaccination is compulsory.
“Unfortunately, looking at the statistics, unless we expend some extraordinary effort mobilising people to vaccinate, by the end of the year the number of Poles… who will die because of this disease will reach 100,000,” Szełemej said. “Vaccinations are the only way to defeat the pandemic.”
The mayor, who is also a cardiologist, noted that Wałbrzych has been at the forefront of the Polish vaccine rollout since the beginning. In March it launched its own registration line for people wanting to register for a vaccination there.
Wałbrzych’s city council is also working on regulations that would provide discounts for those inoculated in city’s vaccination centres. It also opened one of Poland’s first drive-through vaccination points, which officials hope will soon be operating around the clock.
— Dziennik Wałbrzych (@DziennikWalb) April 19, 2021
“We believe that this form, which proved effective in the USA, in Italy and France, will also become popular in Poland,” Michał Dworczyk, the government minister responsible for the national vaccination rollout, said about the drive-through in Wałbrzych.
Some 100,000 people – almost the same number as its population – have already been vaccinated in the city – almost the same number as its population. As Szełemej pointed out, however, the registration system allows anyone to register at any vaccination point around Poland, making it hard to focus exclusively on inoculating local residents.
Polling has revealed a high level of vaccination scepticism among Poles in recent months, although this has been falling as the rollout has continued. According to the most recent poll, quoted by Onet.pl and conducted by Inquiry, 57% of those who have not yet received the jab say they are either “definitely” or “rather” willing to take it.
Poland today recorded its highest daily total of coronavirus vaccinations to date, more than 330,000. The total number of shots administered now exceeds 11 million, and 8.3 million people have received at least one dose.