A poll by Kantar in December 2020 has found that 47 per cent of Poles were more afraid of side effects caused by Covid vaccine than danger of being infected with the virus itself.
Poland is second only to Russia on the list of countries whose residents are suspicious of the vaccines, ‘Nature’ has found.
Reluctant approach towards the vaccines is quite clear in Polish communities across the UK as well. With around 1 million Poles still living in Britain it seems to be quite a significant issue to try to convince them about safety and need of vaccination.
Division on this subject is quite deep and seems to be heated up especially on the social media platforms where a lot of negativity can be found.
Here are some comments, which can be found on Made in Dunstable fanpage adressed to the Poles, living in Bedfordshire:
“I’m not in a hurry. It’s so confusing process. I don’t want to experiment with my own life.
“Never. No way. Although if they’ll introduce Covid passports I’ll have no choice.
“Lots of uncertainty. I don’t believe in it. If they’ll force me to, I’ll do it. Otherwise I’ll wait.”
Tomasz Marczewski, Milton Keynes resident is against vaccines, because he seems to think that he’s allowed his own choice and shouldn’t be vaccinated with the jab not properly tested.
“I don’t want to be one of the experimental rabbits. The idea is bad. It’s a part of a plan of making people poor and closing businesses.
He said: “I don’t think that vaccine which was not tested for several years will be helpful for people.
“Political decisions will kill many more people that virus itself.”
Szymon Kita, Dunstable resident with underlying condition was reluctant as well, although he had no choice really other than take a jab. He’s full of concers regarding taking second dose of an AstraZeneca.
He said: “Covid vaccine is very hard to assess because of a lot of different information in media about it.
“I was worried about side effects of the vaccine. My immunological system is very weak.
“I’ve got inflamation of my neck, it’s very swollen right now. Bump come up at the back of my head as well. It’s very concerning.
“I’m going to rethink whether I go for the second dose, planned for me in May.”
On the other hand there are also voices of trust and appreciation for the vaccination rollout. One of the supporters of the jab is Katarzyna Kolach, English teacher, currently living in Dunstable. She wants to be vaccinated as soon as possible in order to get back to normality.
She said: “I believe the vaccine is now our only option. I’m concerned about it, but on the other hand I’m healthy woman with no allergies or life threatening condition.
“I’m just waiting for my turn to be vaccinated and I want to get on with my life.”
UoB Today was speaking to another Pole, Tring resident Dorota Górczyńska-Bacik, who is also supporting the vaccines. Dorota, actress and poet, wants normality to get back soon, so she’s got strong opinion, backing up the vaccination process.
She said: “I haven’t had vaccine yet, but I’m really looking forward to get an invitation. In my opinion it’s a great thing. It’s a passport for normality, which we miss a lot. I’m not concerned of side effects. I’ll go to get vaccine as soon as I get an invitation.”
Poles living in the UK often watch only Polish TV, talk to their friends and family in Poland. It has to be pointed out that Polish government isn’t helping the situation. Their chaotic approach to the pandemic and implementing measures with no solid evidence for them make people develop these concerns. Not strong enough voice, huge chaos in the National Health Service and certain measures added up to the rules often overnight help to built up this uncertainty among Poles.
Only recently many European countries have suspended using AstraZeneca vaccines because there is a suspected link with developing blood clot as a side effect.
Andrzej Strzelecki, cardiologist and internal disease specialist in the University Clinical Hospital in Bydgoszcz said: “Vaccines are very important shield to fight Covid-19. We need to promote them as a tool which can help us getting back to normality. I’m not concerned about vaccines.
“I trust biotechnologists and all the scientists who worked on their development. I took two Pfizer doses as the majority of the staff in my hospital earlier on this year. Beside slight temperature everything was fine with me.
“We need to keep promoting the need of vaccinations and stop undermining them. They’re are necessary measure to take in order to control the pandemic spread.”