European doctors have reported “side effects” from the AstraZeneca vaccine that include high temperatures and headaches. However, similar side effects have not been reported in the UK, where the vaccine has been given to many more people. France Info, a state news radio station, said the country’s health officials were “trying to avoid receiving AstraZeneca doses, which they regard as third rate compared with ‘the Rolls-Royce’ produced by Pfizer-BioNTech”.
The EU has asked for AstraZeneca to ramp up its supplies to Europe.
Now, French president Emmanuel Macron has attempted to “manage demand” for AstraZeneca by casting doubt on its effectiveness in the over-65s.
He said: “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.”
The German medical regulator also raised doubts and decided against approval for the over-65s.
The claims about AstraZeneca’s efficacy have been debunked by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Last week the WHO officially recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over the age of 65.
The WHO said it should be used “without an upper age limit”.
The claims against the vaccine’s efficacy were made by the German newspapers Handelsblatt and Bild.
AstraZeneca said the current data was “completely incorrect”.
The pharmaceutical company said they had “no idea” where the German newspaper’s figure came from.
AstraZeneca added that this figure was not proved by research on the vaccine.
Doctors in Italy were dismissive of the effect of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.
In Italy, some medical staff demanded a Pfizer dose instead of AstraZeneca.
One Italian doctor spoke to La Stampa and said: “How come they even vaccinated hospital gardeners with more efficient vaccines while us doctors, who risk infection every day or risk infecting others, get offered something less efficient?”