AstraZeneca: French are 'vaccine wary' says Katya Adler
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More than a dozen European countries have suspended the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab following claims it could cause blood clots. President Macron has been warned that uptake of the vaccine in France has fallen by 23 percent in only a week. BBC Katya Adler told Newscast: “The statistics that I’m reading suggest that at the moment amongst the French public, those asked, 20 percent say they would use the AstraZeneca jab compared to 43 percent last week.
“That’s compared to 52 percent that would take Pfizer.
“When you talk about France, I have to say the French particularly much more so than Germany are really vaccine-wary and this has been a problem from the start.
“This is why the European Medicines Agency says ‘we’re not worried about being a bit slower than the UK when approving vaccines because we know that the mainland European public is worried and we think it goes to the benefit to reassure them if we take a little bit longer.
“But this push-pull with AstraZeneca, it’s not looking good and it feeds into what is said in the UK that this is political because it is the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.”
It comes as Boris Johnson has said he is due to have his Covid-19 vaccine shortly and it will “be Oxford/AstraZeneca”.
The Prime Minister told MPs: “I think perhaps the best thing I can say about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine programme is that I finally got news that I’m going to have my own jab very shortly, I’m pleased to discover it will certainly be Oxford/AstraZeneca that I will be having.”
His comments came as the number of people to have received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in the UK passed 25 million.
Number 10 said Mr Johnson is expected to get his Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine later this week.
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It is understood the NHS told the Prime Minister he would receive the AstraZeneca jab because of the public interest surrounding the vaccine.
But it is unclear whether Downing Street had specifically requested it.
Meanwhile, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen suggested exports of coronavirus vaccines could be halted to countries with higher vaccination rates.
In what appeared to be a veiled threat to the UK, she told reporters in Brussels: “We are exporting a lot to countries that are themselves producing vaccines and we think this is an invitation to be open, so that we also see exports from those countries coming back to the European Union.
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“The second point that is of importance to us: we will reflect on whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates than us are still proportionate.”
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses for Europe including the UK are being produced in BioNTech’s German manufacturing sites, as well as in Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Belgium. Part of the Moderna vaccine is set to be finished in Spain.
The comments came after a leading expert said people across Europe will die from Covid-19 as a direct consequence of the decision to halt the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Sweden and Latvia have followed countries including Germany, France, Italy and Spain in temporarily suspending AstraZeneca jabs in light of a small number of reports of bleeding, blood clots and low blood platelet counts.
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