Public outrage and a scandal has followed news that Warsaw Medical University (WUM) hospital staff administered the COVID-19 vaccine to 18 celebrities and public figures, allowing them access to the vaccine before essential health workers and the elderly who are supposed to be first in line. The issue of celebrities receiving vaccines out of required order was first reported on social media by students from the Medical University of Warsaw. They stated that recipients included famed actors Krystyna Janda, Andrzej Seweryn and their daughter Maria, Wiktor Zborowski, as well as former prime minister and current Left MEP Leszek Miller and liberal television station TVN former program director Edward Miszczak. Wiktor Zborowski told Polsat News that the action had been coordinated by Krystyna Janda’s theater and that the information leaking out before the individuals concerned had begun to publicly propagate the vaccine now “looks awful”.
Health Minister Adam Niedzielski stated that the Warsaw Medical University had broken its own rules concerning vaccination and that he was disgusted by the institution’s behavior. He stated that an investigation concerning the affair would be initiated on Monday. WUM argues that all it did was to give doses of the vaccine which otherwise would have gone to waste, as the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine has to be used up within a few days of it being taken out from deep refrigeration. But its previous claim that it was planning an action to promote the vaccine through celebrities — which apparently had not been agreed with the Ministry of Health — tends to contradict this explanation. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also referred to the scandal, emphasizing the schedule and rules concerning vaccination. “The rules concerning vaccines are clear to everyone – they are the same for ordinary citizens, actors, politicians or journalists; every case of abuse will be investigated and those responsible should be punished,” the prime minister said. Law and Justice (PiS) MEP Patryk Jaki strongly criticized the actions of the celebrities. “We can clearly see the arrangement of the vaccination scandal we are dealing with. On the one hand we have a medical facility, a hospital whose director is a former Civic Platform minister. This facility gave out the product in unknown circumstances, the product which is currently rationed, to its favored TV station and the program director of that station,” he said. Jaki underlined that it was certain that the celebrities skipped the line and took vaccines away from people who needed them, including medical workers who are fighting for the lives of Poles each day. “This is why I speak of an arrangement. We have the Civic Platform, TVN and celebrities who support PO in TVN,” he added.
The MEP explained that such scandals took place in the past involving an elite who believe that they are wiser than every other Pole. “This is behavior resembling that of the times of communism,” he stressed. Jaki also pointed out that if Law and Justice politicians jumped the line for a vaccine, there would be demands for them to resign or remove themselves from public life.