Majority of Polish medical panel quits in protest at government inaction on COVID

WARSAW — Thirteen out of 17 members of Poland’s Medical Council resigned on Friday, protesting that the nation’s right-wing authorities had ignored their recommendation on methods to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

In a scathing assertion, signatories led by Robert Flisiak, chairman of the Polish Association of Epidemiologists, complained that their suggestions have had “no impact” by way of taking motion towards the pandemic.

At the identical time, they accused the federal government led by the Law and Justice Party (PiS) of pandering to COVID-19 deniers and vaccine skeptics in a rustic that lately reported its 100,000th coronavirus dying — one in all Europe’s highest pandemic tolls in relation to inhabitants dimension.

“We have been accused many times of insufficient influence over the actions of the government. At the same time, we have observed the growing tolerance towards denying the threat posed by COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination in the fight against the pandemic — which has also been reflected in statements by government members and state officials,” the scientists wrote in a statement issued to the state-run PAP information company.

The Polish authorities has lengthy been accused of inaction: Only 57 p.c of residents have been totally vaccinated in comparison with an EU common of 69 p.c; primary measures like carrying masks indoors are poorly enforced; and the federal government has not launched COVID-19 passports to entry public venues which can be extensively utilized in different European nations.

More lately, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski mentioned a brand new yr rise in infections was an “anomaly” and dominated out additional motion to include the pandemic, whilst the brand new and extremely contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus was smashing case data in nations just like the U.Ok. and Denmark.

An worldwide workforce of scientists warned final weekend that as many as 20 million Poles — greater than half the inhabitants — might catch Omicron this winter.

And, regardless of knowledge pointing to Omicron inflicting milder sickness, the convenience with which it transmits and low vaccination charges might overwhelm Poland’s hospitals and add a surprising 19,000 deaths between January 20 and February 11, the Modelling Coronavirus Spread (MOCOS) group predicted on Twitter.

“The discrepancy between scientific and medical reasoning and practice has become particularly glaring in the context of very limited action in the face of the autumn wave, and then in the face of the threat of the Omicron variant, despite the enormous number of expected deaths,” the departing members of the Medical Council mentioned of their assertion, which was extensively picked up by Polish media.

Responding, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s authorities mentioned in a statement that the Medical Council had offered “substantial support” for the federal government and its disaster administration workforce, whereas choices had been taken on the premise of vast session.

“It is the role of the government to make decisions based on the various positions of experts — the Medical Council, economists, experts from other areas affected by the epidemic,” the federal government assertion added.

This article is a part of POLITICO’s premium coverage service: Pro Health Care. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharma and extra, our specialised journalists maintain you on prime of the matters driving the well being care coverage agenda. Email [email protected] for a complimentary trial.

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