Slow start for Oxford / AstraZeneca in France – POLITICO

Slow start for Oxford / AstraZeneca in France - POLITICO

PARIS – France is trying to push back on skepticism and relaunch its Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccination campaign after days of confused statements about the safety of the jab.
Figures from the health authority, Santé Publique France, show that the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine fell to just over 66,000 and 62,000 doses on Friday and Saturday. This is down from an average of over 90,000 doses injected each day during the previous week.

“It is not a collapse, we will have to look at the figures this week,” said Jérôme Marty, president of the UFML doctors’ union. Marty said half of his vaccination slots for this week have been booked and he is confident vaccinations will resume.

“It’s partly mistrust, partly logistics. We have to start the vaccinations again. We need to call patients, organize immunization days, etc. You can’t reactivate it overnight. ”

France was among several EU countries that suspended use of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine last week following reports that it could be linked to blood clotting. On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency said the vaccine was “safe and effective”, and deployment resumed in France on Friday.

But on the same day, the French health regulatory agency recommended that the vaccine be given only to people over 55, on the grounds that the three French patients who suffered blood clots after receiving the vaccine were over youth. This was the second time the agency had changed its recommendation for Oxford / AstraZeneca and last week’s suspension appears to have had an impact on public confidence. A YouGov poll released on Monday showed that more than 50% of people polled in France, Germany and Spain now believe the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is dangerous.

To reassure the public, French Prime Minister Jean Castex was pictured receiving the blow from AstraZeneca on Friday. “I thought it would be a good idea to get vaccinated very quickly … to show citizens that it is the end of the crisis and that it is very safe,” he told reporters.

But some doctors say many patients no longer trust the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine after the government suspended its use for several days.

“None of my patients want to register with AstraZeneca anymore,” said Monique Luttenbacher-Rubel, a doctor working in a small village near Mulhouse. “The suspension created mistrust and many are still uncertain. I do my best to reassure them and explain to them that there is no increased risk in the vaccinated population, but it is complicated.

Luttenbacher-Rubel said she had at least 100 patients eligible for vaccination and they all wanted to wait for another vaccine. “It was a very bad idea to suspend AstraZeneca, it will have a long term effect on people,” she said.

The roll-out of vaccination in France has been marked by delays and controversies, and is still lagging behind many of the EU’s neighbors. Only 12% of French people have been vaccinated since the start of the program at the end of December.

Meanwhile, the country is currently grappling with an upsurge in COVID-19 cases and has imposed a month-long lockdown in the Paris region, Hauts-de-France and several regions in the south.


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