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Pavel Burian

January 14, 2021 Politics

SZU head resigns over vaccination scandal

SZU head resigns over vaccination scandal - Czech Points

Pavel Březovský, the director of the National Institute of Public Health (SZÚ), has resigned from his position to date due to information that their relatives have also been vaccinated at the institute. The Minister of Health, Jan Blatný, told the press. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that similar offenses could not be repeated and described the office’s behavior as absolutely unacceptable. Březovský stated that he accepts all responsibility for the situation and considers it a priority to maintain the institute’s smooth running.

Seznam reported on Wednesday that the SZÚ distributed a thousand vaccines against covid-19 among its employees and their relatives. Most of them did not belong to high-risk persons, healthcare professionals, or seniors. A spokeswoman for the institute denied vaccinating the family members. Blatný reacted to the findings by saying that he would summon Březovský. Attempts to overtake the vaccination of the priority group on the waiting list could not be tolerated.

According to today’s article on Seznam Zprávy, Březovský was under tremendous pressure to use the vaccines as soon as possible. On Wednesday morning, he received an SMS message from Prime Minister Babiš instructing them to vaccinate as soon as possible, which was confirmed to the server by Březovský himself. The plan for how the institute was supposed to do it and to whom to allocate vaccines, but according to the server, it is then-boss did not receive it, and therefore offered vaccines to employees and their family members. 

Babiš did not respond to questions in the List of Reports regarding his participation in the vaccination event at the SZÚ.

Blatný spoke to Březovský this morning. “He is aware of the gravity of the situation and has resigned to this day,” he said. Babiš said that the events from the SZÚ are unacceptable. “Such excesses cannot be repeated, Minister Blatný deduced personnel measures from this,” he added. Absolute priority is currently given to health professionals and seniors in nursing homes, he said during the vaccination reservation system’s introduction.

In a statement on the SZÚ website, Březovský stated that he considered it an absolute priority to maintain the institute’s smooth running. “As the director, I accept all responsibility for the situation. For this reason, I have decided to resign today,” he said.

List of the Reports published tables with a schedule of vaccinations in which SZÚ employees appear. According to the same surnames, it can be concluded that they have their loved ones vaccinated, the server said. SZÚ spokeswoman Klára Doláková denied the claim that the family members of the employees could also use the vaccines, despite the schedule and the statements of the institute’s staff.

According to Babiš, the available doses of the vaccine were distributed according to the Ministry of Health’s calculations, and the relevant places knew what the priorities were. SZÚ received vaccines because it is one of the areas that can vaccinate, Blatný added. “It is a relatively smaller workplace, so it received the smallest dose that can be distributed,” he said.

However, the conditions for its use were the same as in other organizations. “It means vaccinating paramedics and seniors in homes. That was the task they were given. If it was not fulfilled, and it was not, then it is a mistake, and it is now being solved,” Blatný said. The Minister will ask for further explanations and further investigate the case.