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Poland’s health ministry has launched an investigation after it was revealed that several celebrities jumped the queue to receive vaccines.

Poland started its programme on 27 December, with healthcare professionals meant to be given the vaccine first. However, it emerged that on 30 December 18 well-known people – including numerous actors and a former prime minister – were given the vaccine at the hospital of Warsaw medical university.

Some of those vaccinated claimed they had been offered the vaccine so they could later take part in in a vaccine-promotion campaign. Most of the actors who received the vaccine were in their 60s and 70s. The 75-year-old former prime minister, Leszek Miller, said the vaccines would have been wasted otherwise.

However, there was anger among healthcare professionals, many of whom have not yet been vaccinated, and heath minister Adam Niedzielski said he was “disgusted” by the scandal. The hospital says it will conduct an investigation this week, as ordered by the health ministry.

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