Macron’s AstraZeneca vaccine ‘scare campaign’ sees Covid Jab centers in France shut down early with hundreds of unused doses

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Emmanuel Macron questioned the safety and effectiveness of the AstraZeneca jab


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The low adoption follows alarmism from President Emmanuel Macron, who questioned both the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

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An empty vaccination center in Calais, forced to close
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Emmanuel Macron questioned the safety and effectiveness of the AstraZeneca jabCredit: AFP

Macron, 43, has been blamed for a lack of public confidence in AstraZeneca’s jab, which he falsely called “near-ineffective”.

He performed a series of U-turns, first saying the jab was unsuitable for people over 65, then banning it due to unfounded blood clot fears, then saying he didn’t. should not be given to people under 55 years of age.

With hundreds of people missing their immunization appointments, many immunization centers have no choice but to close early.

Natacha Bouchart, mayor of Calais, said 600 doses had been left unused in the city as people waited for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

She said she followed reports a week ago in France of people with blood clots and 30 similar cases in Britain late last week.

“It’s more than a wave of panic. It’s been going on for a week, and Friday was the final blow, ”she said.

“We really need a national campaign to explain that this vaccine has no more negative consequences than that of Pfizer or Moderna.”

Meanwhile, in nearby Gravelines, Dr Thierry Mraovic, one of the directors of a vaccination center, said 600 doses of AstraZeneca had been returned to the manufacturer.

Man receiving Pfizer vaccine in France5
Man receiving Pfizer vaccine in FranceCredit: Rex
Vaccinations inside the national velodrome of France in Paris
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Vaccinations inside the national velodrome of France in ParisCredit: Alamy

He condemned the policy in France to limit use to people over 55 because of a very low risk of blood clots which appear to have affected younger patients.

In the city of Valenciennes, south-east of Calais, there are more than 900 doses left.

Figures from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control show that 4.7 million AstraZeneca jabs have been purchased by France, but only 2.3 million have been distributed.

Across Europe, millions of doses of the jab go unused in warehouses.

Politicians in France have tried to undo the damage Macron has done as the country battles a third wave of Covid infections.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said over the weekend that work had to be done to persuade people that AstraZeneca should be considered as safe as other vaccines.

France fights against a third wave of Covid5
France fights against a third wave of CovidCredit: AFP

“We must pay attention to the fears of the French,” he said during a visit to the north of the country.

“The challenge at the start of the summer will be less to meet people’s demand than to find people who hesitate. We have to convince them.

Macron finds himself under increasing pressure as his hard-hit country enters its third national lockdown as far-right rival Marine Le Pen has dubbed France’s Covid vaccine chaos his ‘Waterloo’.

The French president acknowledged that European leaders have not gone “fast enough or strong enough” in Covid’s painfully slow race.

But he insisted he had “no remorse, no recognition of failure” despite intense criticism of his leadership in the crisis.

France and Germany have begged Vladimir Putin to supply them with the Russian-made vaccine – after Angela Merkel suspended use of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 60.

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