Macron and Merkel cost lives over Covid misinformation: Anger at France and Germany

Coronavirus will become an 'endemic' predicts WHO expert

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Back in March last year, the AstraZeneca vaccine – which was developed with Oxford University – was only used for people aged 60 and over in France and Germany amid concerns the jab increased the risk of blood clots.

Mr Macron said there was “very little information” available for the vaccine developed by the British-Swedish company and Oxford University.

His office confirmed to AFP: “Today we think that it is quasi-ineffective for people over 65.

“What I can tell you officially today is that the early results we have are not encouraging for 60 to 65-year-old people concerning AstraZeneca.”

After several other EU member states halted use of the vaccine, South Africa cancelled orders of the vaccine after finding it only gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country’s contagious variant.

This came despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) approving the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said at the time: “We now have all the pieces in place for the rapid distribution of vaccines. But we still need to scale up production.

“We continue to call for COVID19 vaccine developers to submit their dossiers to WHO for review at the same time as they submit them to regulators in high-income countries.”

Now, the chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has accused the likes of France and Germany of “costing lives” in Africa.

Sir Andrew Pollard wrote in the Telegraph: “Misinformation risks people’s lives.

“It’s highly likely that people became seriously ill and died because of vaccine misinformation.

“Some of this misinformation came intentionally from individuals against vaccinations, and others came from the unintentional effects of comments from politicians.

“Let’s just say that comments made in mainland Europe affected people in Africa.”

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The AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use by EU regulators last year but Germany stopped administering the vaccine over fears of blood clots.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said at the time: “The background to this decision follows new reports of cases of cerebral vein thrombosis connected with an AstraZeneca vaccination.

“In light of these newly reported cases, the Paul Ehrlich Institute today reevaluated the situation and recommended a suspension of vaccinations and further analysis.”

He said the decision was “not political” and not taken lightly.

Portugal, Slovenia, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Latvia, Austria, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Bulgaria all halted the inoculation of the jab.

Iceland and Norway, who are both not members of the EU but have joined the European Economic Area (EEA), also halted the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Back in April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the AstraZeneca vaccine had “already saved thousands of lives”.

A UK government spokesperson said: “The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives.

“Everybody who has already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should receive a second dose of the same brand, irrespective of age, except for the very small number of people who experienced blood clots with low platelet counts from their first vaccination.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also urged people to “trust in our doctors and scientists” and said he was looking forward to receiving his second AstraZeneca dose.

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