EU vaccine row: German health chief on AstraZeneca policy
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Brussels has urged the EU member states to unify on its vaccine rollout programme, as they warn that without a unified response, public confidence in vaccinations could plummet. The bloc’s senior leaders urged its 27 member states to find a unified response to the finding by regulators that blood clots are a rare side-effect of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab. However, the plea appears to have been ignored by leading member states inside the bloc with France and Germany both splitting with the bloc’s European Medicines Agency (EMA) advice.
Despite the EMA’s insistence that there was no evidence to justify limiting the administration of the vaccine to specific age groups, about 17 member states have put restrictions on AstraZeneca’s use.
Reporting from Paris, RT’s Charlotte Dubenskij said: “The link between AstraZeneca and blood clots is exposing the latest divisions within the EU after the bloc’s agency European Medicines Agency once again said the benefit outweigh the risks.”
She said that Italy, Spain, Germany have limited the use of AstraZeneca to those over the age of 60, while France and Belgium have restricted it to those above the age of 55.
Ms Dubenskij continued: “Those differences are causing a headache for Brussels.”
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She noted: “Without a common policy towards AstraZeneca, trust towards vaccine policies could be eroded.
“However, this ship may have already sailed.
“In France, people have refused to turn up for their appointments if the vaccine is AstraZeneca.
“Meanwhile, in Germany its vaccine chief Thomas Merton has admitted that member states can be pickier than the EU.”
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One person Ms Dubenskij interviewed in Paris railed against the EU’s confusing response.
He said: “It’s confusing, to say the laws change from one country to another when it’s the same product.
“We wonder what studies they are based on. The management is not clear at all.”
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Earlier this week, the EU’s health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, said that it was vital that a common policy was formed, given the faltering confidence among the public in the vaccine.
She said: “The safety of our vaccines has always been paramount under our EU vaccines strategy.
“Our decisions should now be based on the scientific work of EMA, and a rigorous, continuous assessment of risks and benefits.
“I have today called on health ministers to follow a coordinated approach across Europe to improve public confidence.”
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