France and Germany are struggling to sell AstraZeneca vaccines

(Paris) Unwanted side effects and efficacy are discussed: A victim of a bad reputation, AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 is being avoided by the population in France and Germany, forcing authorities to increase the number of reassuring messages to avoid letting it expire. .


Pierre Donadio
France Media

“If this is the vaccine that was offered to me, I will of course take it”: On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron personally participated in renting a “safe” vaccine according to the standards of the health authorities.

The treatment was not previously recommended for people over the age of 65 in France, but Health Minister Olivier Ferrand announced Monday evening on France 2 that its use would extend to people between the ages of 50 and 75 who suffer from common diseases. Those aged 75 and over will continue to be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

The same story is with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who on February 25 bragged about “a vaccine we can trust” and called on the Germans not to filter between the different laboratories to be vaccinated.

On February 8, Olivier Ferrand set an example as he injected himself with a dose of vaccine in front of the cameras.

This Swedish-British vaccine consensus reflects a form of emergency on both sides of the Rhine, as countries struggle to sell the quantities of AZ vaccines received.

In France, only 270,000 doses were administered (out of 1.6 million available), a proportion comparable to that in Germany, which used 240,000 doses (out of 1.45 million).

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It must be said that the “AZ” vaccine does not have very good press, first with regard to the topic of presumed low efficacy in persons over the age of 65 and against some variants.

«AstraZeneca bashing»

The reviews don’t stop there. Unwanted side effects have been reported in several hospitals in France, with healthcare workers being vaccinated “AZ”, especially flu-like symptoms.

This phenomenon was so serious that some hospitals, such as Saint-Loup Hospital in Normandy (northwest), stopped their vaccinations. The work of the institution was affected by a very large number of people on sick leave after injections.

Currently, some countries like the United States have yet to validate the AstraZeneca vaccine.

So, to avoid “AstraZeneca bashing”, as the president of the French General Practitioners Syndicate, Jacques Battistone, said, the authorities are embarking on a rehabilitation campaign.

“For extremely unfair reasons.” […] It is considered less effective or less effective than RNA vaccines such as Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, “explains Alain Fischer, the effective M.Vaccine of the French government.

In Scotland, a study showed that four weeks after the first dose was administered, the risk of hospitalization was reduced by 85% with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and by 94% with the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, for example. They did not receive the vaccine.

Another study, conducted in real conditions in the UK among those over the age of 70 by Public Health England and published on Monday, shows that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine is “very effective” after the first dose, particularly in hospital.

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The vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are based on messenger RNA technology, while the vaccine from “AZ” is a viral vector, but has the advantage of being cheaper and easier to store.

In Germany, many officials are concerned about the potential waste of unused vaccines.

And Marcus Suedder, head of the government of Bavaria (the south), demanded “not to leave out or throw away any dose of AstraZeneca.” “Before this happens: vaccinate everyone who wants it. Every day matters,” he claimed in the newspaper picture.

“We have to relax our strict regulations and vaccinate people, even if they are not among the priority people,” said Winfried Kretschmann, president of the Baden-Württemberg region (southwest).

The German Chancellor is scheduled to meet officials from each region on Wednesday to discuss next steps in fighting the epidemic.

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