At least 20 European countries temporarily suspended the use of this vaccine due to reports of thrombosis among AstraZeneca vaccine injections. Was this move out of vaccine safety concerns or political considerations? News Update will show you what political overtones are behind AstraZeneca’s vaccination.
Survey results: AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective but the information may be incomplete
Since the introduction of the AstraZeneca vaccine developed by a British pharmaceutical manufacturer and the University of Oxford, its safety has been questioned more than once. The first to question the safety of this vaccine was the Norwegian medical regulatory authority, which was vaccinated. Four of them had blood clots, and a small number of similar cases were found in Denmark, Italy and Austria.
In March 2021, France, Germany and Italy stated that they decided to suspend AstraZeneca vaccination due to the increase in the number of thrombosis in the vaccinated population. WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) immediately announced the launch of a special investigation.
AstraZeneca subsequently stated that the vaccine did not find this causal relationship in various stages of testing, and there were fewer than 50 cases of thrombosis among the 17 million vaccinated.
EMA held a press conference on March 18 and announced the findings of the investigation, saying that there is no evidence that the AstraZeneca vaccine can cause blood clots. Moreover, the AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine has a positive benefit-risk comparison and has great potential in preventing infection and reducing deaths around the world.
After the investigation results were announced, France, Germany, Italy and other countries quickly announced the resumption of AstraZeneca vaccine on the 19th; the Portuguese government announced that it would resume vaccination on the 22nd and speed up the vaccination schedule; Spain would resume on the 24th; the Netherlands And Portugal also decided to restart AstraZeneca’s vaccination work.
Nevertheless, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said on the 23rd that AstraZeneca provided incomplete information when it announced the results of its large-scale vaccine trial in the United States.
Reuters reported that NIAID issued a statement stating that the US Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) expressed concern that AstraZeneca’s “clinical trials may contain outdated information and provide incomplete efficacy data”. . NIAID urges AstraZeneca to cooperate with DSMB to review efficacy data to ensure that the most accurate and up-to-date efficacy data are released as soon as possible.
British media: The suspension of AstraZeneca vaccine is not only because of science
On March 15th, the British “Guardian” website published an article “Europe’s caution on AstraZeneca vaccine is not just because of science”. It was emphasized that although EMA and WHO recommended that AstraZeneca vaccine be continued, France and Germany Always decided to suspend the use of this vaccine. The common explanation of European governments for this is that they have suspended vaccines out of “extreme caution.”
British media pointed out that most scientists “dismissed” the decision to stop. Experts have pointed out that the number of cases of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia in vaccinated people is not higher than that of non-vaccinated people, and thrombosis is also common.
The Guardian believes that European countries have stopped using the vaccine for reasons other than science. For example, the governments of some European countries made the decision to suspend vaccination because of insufficient vaccine stocks; in addition, governments of various countries have to measure other factors besides safety, including public confidence in vaccines.
British media pointed out that from the government’s point of view, once European powers such as Germany and France clearly stated that they would suspend vaccination, the governments of other countries will be under increasing pressure. They were worried that they would appear reckless, but also to achieve a united front.
Among them, the head of the Italian Medical Bureau Magrini said on Monday that the reason why Italy suspends the AstraZeneca vaccination is that other European countries have done so first, “this is a political decision.”
The French and British leaders tried to make AstraZeneca vaccine “save face”
After the results of the AstraZeneca vaccine survey were announced, French Prime Minister Castay and British Prime Minister Johnson both received the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 19 and expressed confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine and hoped to encourage the public to actively vaccinate. After all, vaccination is currently one of the important means to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
Nevertheless, there are still some European countries in the wait-and-see phase. According to the “Washington Post” report, Sweden, Norway and other countries stated that they will not resume the use of the vaccine for the time being and will wait until further analysis is over to make a decision.
On the 18th, a suspected death from the side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine reported by the Skåne University Hospital in Sweden made the Swedish authorities more cautious and will announce whether to resume vaccination as early as next week.
The US media pointed out that although France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have decided to resume vaccination, the turmoil will damage the people’s trust in AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The “Wall Street Journal” on the 17th pointed out that after France and Germany have suspended vaccination, its credibility is difficult to restore in a short time. Such an approach will also cause doubts from other countries.
Vaccine dispute between the EU and the UK intensifies
Although the AstraZeneca vaccine is produced in the Netherlands, the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom has also participated in its development process. Therefore, the AstraZeneca vaccine can be said to contain “British ancestry”, and the aftermath of the “Brexit” dispute in Britain and Europe still exists Today, this will inevitably lead to political associations.
AstraZeneca previously stated that only 30 million doses of vaccines could be provided to the EU in the first quarter, which is less than half of the 90 million doses promised in the contract, which intensified the vaccine dispute between the EU and the UK. At the same time, due to obstacles in AstraZeneca’s global supply chain, the delivery of 5 million doses of vaccines purchased by the UK from Indian pharmaceutical companies was delayed in March, resulting in a shortage of vaccines in the UK.
The vaccination rate in EU member states is much higher than in the UK. As of last Saturday, EU member states had received an average of 10.4 doses per 100 people, while the UK had 42.7 doses per 100 people.
The European Commission said on Saturday that if AstraZeneca cannot provide vaccines, it will restrict the export of vaccines to countries that do not respect the spirit of reciprocity or have high vaccination rates.
The British Secretary of Defense Wallace warned that if the European Union banned AstraZeneca’s exports due to delays in vaccine delivery, the result would only be counterproductive. He pointed out that the whole world is paying attention to how the EU responds to the shortage of AstraZeneca’s vaccine supply, saying that this is related to the EU’s reputation.
The United Kingdom and the European Union have accused each other of imposing vaccine export restrictions and nationalism, which poses a threat to the fragile post-Brexit trade relationship framework that Britain and the European Union just agreed in December last year.