AstraZeneca: EU nations' suspension of jab criticised by expert
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The EU is sitting on a mountain of tens of millions of unused Covid jabs, an Express.co.uk analysis has found. Member states’ stockpile includes almost eight million AstraZeneca shots after 16 capitals continued to halt distribution of it over unsubstantiated fears it causes blood clots. EU governments have used just 48 million doses out of the 62.2 million delivered to them, according to official data published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Nearly 15 million of those doses were supplied by UK-based drugs giant AstraZeneca, with more than 7.5 million of the unused vaccines now sitting unused in fridges across the bloc.
France and Germany, who have been blamed for the mass revolt, were found to be the worst offenders, having used less than half of their supplies of the Oxford jab.
Sixteen EU countries, including France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden Ireland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Romania, Latvia, Austria, Lithuania, Estonia, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Bulgaria, have all suspended use of the Oxford jab over fears it causes blood clots.
The decision by European capitals was derided as a “political one” as experts warned the move puts lives at risk.
The head of Italy’s medicines watchdog accused Paris and Berlin of playing politics amid a blazing row between AstraZeneca and the European Commission over the shortfalls in its deliveries to member states.
Nicola Magrini, director general of AIFA, fumed: “We got to the point of a suspension because several European countries, including Germany and France, preferred to interrupt vaccinations…to put them on hold in order to carry out checks. The choice is a political one.”
Italy has used two-thirds of the 1.5 million doses of coronavirus shipped to it by the Anglo-Swedish firm.
Italian MEP Paolo Borchia accused the influential capitals of “huffing and puffing” amid growing public anger over the slow rollout of jabs.
He added: “I think that they’re exaggerating the AstraZeneca story – the biggest issue is that the EU is behind the UK and US in the vaccination campaign.”
Europe’s medical regulator the EMA has doubled down on claims that the benefits of the vaccine “outweigh the risk of side-effects”.
And EMA boss Emer Cooke warned member states that their persistent attacks on AstraZeneca jab.
She told a news conference today: “At present there is no indication vaccination has caused these conditions. We’re still firmly convinced the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk of side-effects.
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“We are worried that there may be an effect on the trust of the vaccines, but our job is to make sure the products that we authorised are safe and can be trusted by the European citizens.”
Top Tory Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen mocked the EU put putting the survival of the project ahead of its citizens’ lives.
He said: “The politically coordinated efforts across Europe to cast doubt on the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine in the face of all the science, shows once again that the EU will put the politics of its own survival before the survival of its people.
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“Very very sad.”
Former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage added: “These idiots in Europe are putting their dislike of the UK above the health of their people by suspending the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Voters will not like it, the populist wave is coming.”
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