Tension has risen a bit in Poland in recent days. The country said Monday that the security of its vaccination centers would be strengthened, the day after the fire in two centers by anti-vaccine activists and a week after a fight in another.
“Unfortunately, these incidents are repeating themselves,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters. “All will be severely punished, in accordance with current legislation, and we will also take measures to strengthen the security of all these centers,” he added.
Police Chief Jaroslaw Szymczyk said the perpetrators set fire to a mobile vaccination center and an office occupied by a local epidemiology agency on Sunday in the eastern Polish city of Zamosc. The two fires claimed no casualties.
Jaroslaw Szymczyk called the incidents “extremely shocking” and announced the presence of security “day and night” at the vaccination centers. “Unfortunately, we are seeing an escalation in the brutality, in the violence itself, of the behavior of anti-vaccine groups,” he said.
In July, the police had to intervene in two anti-vaccine-related incidents, including an attempt last week by activists to break into a vaccination center in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, near Warsaw. The action had sparked a fight between activists, security guards and medical personnel at the center.
The government encourages Poles to keep getting vaccinated, but the rate of vaccination has slowed dramatically and remains relatively low in the south and east of the country. Many vaccination centers have to close due to lack of demand. Almost 50% of the population is fully vaccinated in Poland. According to polls, almost a quarter of Poles are against the vaccine or are reluctant to get vaccinated.