Emmanuel Macron slammed for 'following bad science' by expert
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France has administered just over four million jabs so far, lagging behind most EU countries as well as the UK and the US. The slow vaccine rollout has been lambasted by French GPs who have been blamed by the Health Ministry. An official from President Macron’s government said GPs are not using all the doses of vaccines they have been given.
Speaking at the weekly vaccination briefing, they said: “GPs need to very significantly increase the pace of vaccinations if they want to keep up over the next two weeks.
“Some doctors were worried about not receiving the doses, but there are 1.2 million ear-marked for them. That’s no small change.”
But practitioners across the country are hitting back at the government, denying the accusation.
Sylvaine Le Liboux, general secretary for the trade union Les Généralistes-CSMF said: “It’s a scandal, I’ve got no vaccines left and I can’t order any more.
“They are lying, we haven’t kept any stocks … We are using the doses, not keeping them.”
Bertrand Favarel-Garrigues, a practitioner working in Bordeaux, told Politico he has 130 vulnerable and elderly patients on a waiting list and is forced to cancel injections barely a week after he started vaccinating.
He said: “We’re not going to spend our time booking patients and then turning them away.
The blame game played by the government has also been blasted by opposition MPs who question why the country has only used less than half its stock of deliveries so far.
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Centrist MP Francois-Michel Lambert said: “That’s an unacceptable rate.
“Building a A380 aircraft, or a Peugeot 3008 is a lot more complicated than taking one single product and putting it in people’s arms. The supply chain is easy.
“I think the system is too rigid, and hitting on the links at the end of the chain is going to make people go faster.”
Last week, Health Minister Olivier Véran blasted healthcare workers for not taking the COVID-19 jab.
In a letter to staff, he said “the figures are encouraging, but they are not increasing enough. It’s not enough.”
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To make things worse, the reputation of the Anglo-Swedish vaccine AstraZeneca in the country has seen thousands of French people refusing the jab when given the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Nicolas Bruder, head of an intensive care unit at the Timone hospital in Marseille told Politico: “We’ve noticed a great reluctance to get vaccinated among hospital staff and GPs.
“People are worried about the secondary effects [linked to AstraZeneca].”
At the start of the vaccine rollout, French President Emmanuel Macron was attacked after claims he made about the efficiency of the jab in older people. He has since said he would get the Oxford vaccine if it was offered to him.
It comes as seven EU member states put a halt to the use of the Oxford jab for two weeks after various reports of deaths by blood clots across the bloc.
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said there is no evidence to suggest the vaccine causes blood clot problems, and that people should still get their Covid-19 jab when asked to do so.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also backed the jab’s safety and said there have been 30 reports of blood clots among close to five million people given the vaccine across Europe.
It said in a statement: “The position of EMA’s safety committee… is that the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing.”
On Thursday, Denmark, Norway and Iceland said they were temporarily halting all AstraZeneca vaccinations to investigate reports of blood clots among people who have had the jab.
Italy also followed Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg and Lithuania in banning jabs from one particular batch of one million AstraZeneca vaccines, which was sent to 17 countries, after reports of a death.
AstraZeneca said in a statement on Friday: “An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country with Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca.
“In fact, the observed number of these types of events are significantly lower in those vaccinated than what would be expected among the general population.”
Earlier this week, the EMA reported that one person in Austria was diagnosed with blood clots and died 10 days after vaccination, but stressed there is “currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions”.
Another person was admitted to hospital with pulmonary embolism (blockage in arteries in the lungs) after being vaccinated.
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