A reader shares their personal story of getting Covid-19 vaccinated in Poland.
As the vaccine rollout continues apace, one of our readers let us know their experience of the process to help those still awaiting the call.
All resource details (phone numbers/ websites etc.) are at the end of the piece. We don’t expect all experiences to be the same regarding location, waiting times etc. This article should in no way be considered to contain any medical advice whatsoever.
After registering on the designated website some months ago and unnerved by intermittent site crashes, we impatiently rang the English language helpline and an incredibly understanding individual directed us to an even simpler process of registration.
We sent an sms to +48 880 333 333 with the text – Szczepimy Sie (We are vaccinating). We waited a minute or two and received back an sms asking us for our Pesel number. Once entered and returned we again waited a few minutes and then received a request for our postal district number.
There are two responses you can then get. For those who do not yet qualify for an appointment, you will receive the following –
Na Twój numer PESEL nie wystawiono e-skierowania na szczepienie przeciw COVID-19. Skontaktuj się z infolinią pod numerem 989.
Google translated as – Your PESEL number has not been issued with an e-referral for vaccination against COVID-19. Contact the hotline on 989.
We were lucky to qualify and immediately received details of when and where we could get our first vaccine jab. We were offered the option to accept and send a simple TAK (yes) in response or request an alternative appointment.
We had five minutes from receipt of the sms to respond. If we had responded “NIE”, we assume we would have been offered an alternative date/location. If we didn’t respond at all, our application would have been cancelled and we would have had to reapply.
We said Tak straight away.
Please note that the upper/ lower cases of any text we sent were important.
Through a Krakow April snowstorm, we headed toward our designated vaccination point 20 km outside of Krakow in a small farming hamlet. Surrounded by freshly ploughed fields, we were convinced that google maps had sent us off track until we came across a small building hidden behind some pre-spring trees.
Wow! Plenty of parking spaces and no queues.
Entering, we were greeted warmly by a little lady with a big smile. Due to the location and age of the receptionist we were relieved to have brought along someone who could speak Polish.
We were offered a seat and a pen and handed two forms to fill in and sign. The first, no doubt, essentially outlined our liability should we drop dead. We just signed without reading. The second required a description of current medical health (do you have any of the following diseases? etc.) Luckily we could mark all as not applicable.
Once completed and checked we were quickly ushered into the Doctor’s office. Masked up, there was no problem to be accompanied by our translator. One nurse took our blood pressure whilst another checked our temperature with a hand held electronic thermometer. All clear.
For some reason that remained unexplained, our left arm was the preferred access point rather than the right.
Sixty seconds later we had been vaccinated and were handed a confirmation card with details of our next appointment. In our case, it would be exactly 11 weeks hence.
We were instructed to sit outside for 10 minutes to ensure there was no immediate reaction to the jab and with that, we had moved from one group of the global population to another.
It really was that simple. Four minutes after leaving, our phone pinged with a confirmed sms of our next appointment, backing up our paper card.
Despite various anecdotal evidence of mild headaches or soreness for a few hours the next day, we felt no after effects at all. Various resources have suggested that you refrain from alcohol for a week or so afterwards to allow the anti-bodies to do their thing. If you have any questions about this or anything else we would of course recommend you contact a medical expert.
English language patient helpline – 800-190-590 or +48 22 125 66 00 (from abroad)
SMS registration – +48 880 333 333
If you are particularly concerned about what you need to sign, here are some blank documents we “sequestered” before leaving. (apologies for the uneven text but the original is the same)
If you feel any of the information is incorrect or indeed you have more helpful information to add, don’t hesitate to let us know through our comments section.
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