Coronavirus: What’s behind France’s AstraZeneca turnaround?
His Europe minister then accused the united kingdom of taking “massive risks” by depending too heavily on its home-grown jab.
Mr Macron has now said that he would happily receive the AstraZeneca vaccine if that was what he was offered. His government also announced a clear U-turn by approving the jab for a few older people.
So what has changed? Have the French now seen the bounds of criticising AstraZeneca and are available to know that there are often no such thing as too many vaccines?
Or have the UK’s accusations of French vaccine nationalism been wide of the mark? in any case , it isn’t a race, and if Europeans chose to take care over the AstraZeneca vaccine because they felt there was a scarcity of clinical evidence for the over-65s, that might hardly be the primary time the EU’s precautionary principle has slowed things down.
The truth is perhaps a mix of the 2 .
On the one hand, it’s hard to not believe that there was some element of post-Brexit ill will motivating the French and wider European scepticism towards the AstraZeneca jab.
But it had been noticeable how the remarks made by Mr Macron and Europe Minister Clément Beaune that cast doubt on the vaccine’s effectiveness never found a receptive audience within the French medical community .
That profession – which had no political axe to grind – said early that the jab was a welcome addition to the combination .
But the politicians set the tone. they need to surely take a number of the blame for the slow uptake of the vaccine since its launch in France last month.
Only 1 / 4 of the AstraZeneca doses delivered to France have actually been put into people’s arms.
That can partly be attributed to the various method of distribution compared to the more widely-used Pfizer jab. For the AstraZeneca jab, doctors are expecting people to return to their surgeries while for Pfizer there has been a more accessible market in hospitals and care homes.
Nonetheless, the government’s own vaccination co-ordinator Alain Fischer has admitted that the AstraZeneca vaccine has had “a pretty bad press in France”. this is often a transparent sign that the messaging surrounding it’s been faraway from helpful.
AstraZeneca has come to be seen by too many of us here as an inferior vaccination – partly due to its lower level of protection compared to the opposite jabs, and partly due to widespread reports of mild side-effects.
The French government, however, now seems bent changing that perception and accelerating the take-up of AstraZeneca. that’s why it’s now approved its use for at-risk over-65s.
There are accusations of opportunism, with some suggesting that the French government wants doses of AstraZeneca merely to save lots of its struggling vaccination programme. But there’s actually a wonderfully sound response.
France never ruled out using the jab on older people; it just said it had been expecting evidence that it worked. And now – with the new Scottish study – that evidence seems to be there.