France being 'too cautious' on vaccines says Hunt
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Jeremy Hunt appeared on Sky News to discuss the concerns surrounding fatal blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine. He explained that the death rate in the UK was nine times lower than in France which has now been placed into another national lockdown and suffers rising vaccine hesitancy among its population. Mr Hunt added the UK was being seen as a role model for other countries as cases and deaths have dramatically fallen since the rollout of the vaccines despite clot concerns.
Speaking on Sky News, host Samantha Washington asked the Tory politician: “If you compare it to other countries around the world where they’ve made their own sort of planned their own course on this.
“Those age cohorts are much older where they’re recommended not using the AstraZeneca vaccine – this is going to create a confidence problem isn’t it?”
In some European countries, like Germany, they have paused the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under the ages of 50 or 60.
Mr Hunt replied: “Well I think this is a fascinating issue for the very simple reason that the EMA – the European drugs regulator that used to be based in Britain incidentally.
“It is also recommending that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine remains safe for all age groups and that was another thing that was interesting.
“So individual EU countries have restricted its use I think that there is a real danger that being overcautious, as is happening in France and Germany, will cost more lives than it saves.
“Because what we can see in this country is that we have a death rate from Covid nine times lower than for example in France because we got this vaccine rolled out quickly.
“And a lot of that is thanks to us with AstraZeneca so I think most people can see that we are really benefiting from a refuse rollout of the vaccine.
“But they also understand that as scientific advice comes in, in a pandemic, you need to tweak the advice.”
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In the UK, there were 45 recorded deaths within 28 days of contracting coronavirus as of April 7.
But in France, there were 428 deaths recorded on April 6 as the case rate soars above 50,000 per day.
France has also been put into another national lockdown lasting four weeks to tackle the surge in cases.
But reports of no shows at vaccine centres – especially to receive AstraZeneca jabs – suggest hesitancy is growing in the neighbouring country.
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Vaccine centres in the north of France revealed they had 600 no shows for the AstraZeneca vaccine over one weekend.
The Calais mayor told France 24 that people were holding out for different doses like Pfizer or Moderna.
Concerns over blood clots and anti-AstraZeneca sentiments fueled by European heads of state have left many citizens worried about the vaccine.
A YouGov poll conducted mid-March showed 61 percent of French respondents say they believe the AZ jab is unsafe – compared to 9 percent of Brits who think the same.
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