MEP Peter Pollák, a Romani community member from Slovakia, posts footage of his vaccination against COVID-19 to combat conspiracy theories influencing the community
Peter Pollák (OĽaNO), a current MEP and former Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities, was vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday at the Louis Pasteur University Hospital in Košice. He told the TASR wire service that he wants to convince the Romani community in Slovakia that undergoing vaccination is the only way the world will eventually defeat the novel coronavirus.
The MEP said he had accepted the offer to be one of the first to undergo vaccination after long consultations. "I have decided to convince the large Romani community who are among the endangered groups in Slovakia to take this vaccination seriously because it is actually of benefit to us all," the MEP said, adding that he wants to raise awareness of the issue.
"Even though vaccination will be voluntary, I want to encourage you all not to fear it. Maybe you are from a high-risk group - you travel abroad, you have loved ones living with you who are elderly or already ill... You've seen what this virus can do. The vaccine is our only ticket to freedom, to returning to normal life," the MEP posted to Facebook.
"I'll do my best to influence the opinions of those who are believing the hoaxes and the lies today that have nothing to do with the truth," he told TASR. Just as in the Czech Republic, many Romani people in Slovakia are being influenced by fake news and by the different conspiracy theories associated with vaccination, and for that reason news server Romea.cz is also regularly refuting the most frequent disinformation about COVID-19.
Pollák said that he anticipates the Office of the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities will soon launch an awareness-raising campaign aimed exactly at the members of vulnerable groups living in Romani communities, adding that current Plenipotentiary Andrea Bučková will also be vaccinated as soon as possible. As for other MEPs, he assumes they will all get the vaccine before long.
"If not here in Slovakia, then they will be vaccinated in Brussels," the MEP said. In mid-December, Slovak MEPs from all political factions confirmed to TASR that they support across-the-board EU and national-level campaigns promoting vaccination and that most of them will be vaccinated at the first available opportunity.
Vaccinations against COVID-19 in Slovakia began on Saturday (26 December) evening at the Nitra Teaching Hospital. In the Czech Republic they began on 27 December and the first to receive the vaccine was Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
The first people to be vaccinated in both countries are scheduled to be health care workers, the employees of residential social services, and staffers of critical infrastructure. The vaccine will be available to the broader public apparently around Easter 2021.
- Slovak quarantine measures in Romani settlement are over, police and soldiers no longer on guard there
- Slovakia closes Romani settlement because of COVID-19, police and soldiers deployed
- Slovak Govt Roma Plenipotentiary says Romani community rates of COVID-19 infection the same as majority-society rates
- Czech and Slovak-language disinformation about COVID-19: Lies about testing, facemasks and Bill Gates
- Slovak fascist politician says he is mixing cough medicine with vodka for his COVID-19, authorities warn that is dangerous
- Romani blogger known in the Czech Republic and Slovakia dies of COVID-19, posted video warning just this morning
- Commentary: The Czech and Slovak Romani community on the battlefield that is Facebook
- Jaroslav Miko: Vaccination doesn't just protect you, it protects us all
- Commentary: Czech PM fishing for votes in a racist/xenophobic pond
- Czech extremists move from inciting anti-Romani hatred to railing against "COVID terror" ahead of fall elections
- Local Communist Party cell in Czech Republic posts antigypsyist defamation to official website, party apologizes
- Czech social media influencers join national campaign promoting vaccinations against COVID-19
- ROMEA TV program discusses current COVID-19 disinformation and hoaxes on the Czech Internet
- Karel Karika: I've had my first jab, the vaccine is the way back to normal life
- Czech public health officials asking whether those testing positive for COVID-19 are Czech or Romani - but questions about nationality not being asked systematically
- "Your father is in the COVID-19 wing". A true story.
- EU Fundamental Rights Agency and OSCE say governments must deliver aid to Roma affected by COVID-19 pandemic
- The disinformation pandemic: Who are the Czech "anti-maskers", and could they seize power?
- Czech Internet flooded with fake news alleging parasites are infesting items now mandated by the Government, such as antigen tests