Poland could make vaccinations obligatory for some people at high risk from COVID-19 to help fend off a potential new surge of infections from August, the health minister said.
The country of around 38 million has fully vaccinated 12.8 million people, but authorities have warned of problems with convincing those not yet vaccinated to get a jab.
“Unfortunately we have the impression that we have reached a certain ceiling – it is hard to convince those who are unconvinced because all the arguments and other types of actions have already been taken,” Adam Niedzielski told Catholic radio station Radio Plus.
“We are talking about such scenarios as making vaccination obligatory for those most exposed to the serious consequence of COVID – we are talking here about senior citizens, but first of all doctors,” he said.
Niedzielski noted infections driven by the highly infectious Delta variant had been increasing in Britain.
“What happens in Britain happens here about two months later… in our case, there is a possibility of a fourth wave appearing in the second half of August,” he said.
Niedzielski said later that vaccination rates in various regions would be a factor in deciding about further restrictions if case numbers increase.
“So far, the map of restrictions has been based on the number of new infections… now a parameter that we will consider additionally will be the level of vaccination,” he told a news conference.
Poland reported 123 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a fraction of the number at the peak of the third wave in spring, when daily cases exceeded 35,000.
In total, Poland has reported 2,879,811 COVID-19 infections and 75,005 deaths.
Photo: Elderly citizens are administered the Covid-19 vaccine at the vaccination point at the Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration in Warsaw, Poland. EPA-EFE/Leszek Szymanski