Europe’s vaccine campaign in turmoil
March 16, 2021 - Europe’s slow vaccination roll-out now hangs on the European Medicines Agency’s findings after a number of countries suspended the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot following reports of blood clots.
In a coordinated move on Monday, Germany, France, and Italy decided to suspend the vaccine’s use. 14 European nations have now temporarily suspended the Astra shot.
The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) is to publish its assessment of the vaccine on Thursday. The suspension risks further damaging the public perception of a vaccine already hit by production shortfalls and a public spat with officials in Brussels over delivery problems.
The EMA is conducting a review of the AstraZeneca vaccine after reports from the Norwegian regulatory authority highlighted three blood clotting reports in younger individuals after taking the coronavirus vaccine.
On March 11, the EMA said that the number of blood clots in vaccinated people is no higher than the number seen in the general population -- 30 cases among five million people.
In a recent YouGov survey, perceptions in EU countries of the safety of the shot from Astra and the University of Oxford were lower compared with vaccines from Pfizer and partner BioNTec, and Moderna.
The French were the wariest, with 44 per cent of interviewees saying the Astra shot was “somewhat or very unsafe.” Germany, Spain and Italy followed with 40 per cent, 25 per cent and 15 per cent, saying they believed the vaccine was unsafe.
By contrast, Britons viewed Astra’s as the safest of the three, with just one in 20 people thinking it was unsafe.