Oxford vaccine puts UK ‘ahead of game’ in pandemic says expert
Mr Beaune, France’s Minister for European Affairs, highlighted how the United Kingdom had not limited AstraZeneca‘s COVID vaccine to those aged under 65, as has been the case in France and other European Union countries. He told LCI TV: “You see, the United Kingdom has taken fewer precautions than ourselves.”
He said: “We often compare Europe to the UK and Israel, but we need to be precise here.
“The UK is mainly counting on one vaccine, AstraZeneca.
“The UK, given its difficult health situation, has taken huge risks that our scientists have warned us against.”
Mr Beaune added: “For example, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been used in the UK for people over 65.”
Clement Beaune has criticised the UK’s vaccine strategy
Clement Beaune is interviewed on French television
The UK is less cautious than us
“Health authorities in France, in Germany and yesterday the European health authority have said it.
“They do not recommend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in people over 65.
“We respect it and that forces us to adapt our vaccine strategy and use it in other age groups.”
Mr Beaune, whose country has faced mounting criticism over the sluggishness of its vaccination programme, insisted: “The UK is less cautious than us. I can understand it because their health situation is very difficult.
Clement Beaune is a close ally of France’s President, Emmanuel Macron
“The UK was less cautious and acted faster.
“I don’t think we were slower. We have been protective and cautious.”
Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski wasted no time in responding to Mr Beaune’s remarks, suggesting he would do better to examine his own country’s failings.
Mr Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, told Express.co.uk: “Rather than admit their mistakes and promise to learn from them to electorate this French politician is playing true to form.
Matt Hancock says Oxford vaccine ‘works and works very well’
“When in doubt blame the British is an age’old failing French politician’s ploy so at least they are consistent if flawed.”
Mr Beaune was speaking hours after a new study suggested single dose of the Oxford vaccine may reduce transmission of coronavirus by two thirds, offering a major boost to the UK’s recommendation that the second jab should be delayed for up to 12 weeks.
Researchers said that the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab offers protection of 76 percent up to three months and may reduce transmission by 67 percent – with efficacy rising to 82.4 percent after the second dose 12 weeks later.
The data from the study by the University of Oxford, which has not yet been peer reviewed, supports the four to 12-week prime-boost dosing interval that many global regulators, including the UK’s, have recommended.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock
Mr Beaune was speaking on the day new data about the Astrazeneca/Oxford vaccine was published
Prior to the results, little was known about how effective the Covid-19 vaccines were at preventing transmission of the disease.
The findings indicate that those who have been vaccinated are not only protected from the disease, but that they are not likely to pass on the virus to anyone.
Speaking to Sky News today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This Oxford report is very good news, it backs the strategy that we’ve taken and it shows the world that the Oxford vaccine works effectively.
“The really good news embedded in it is that it not just reduces hospitalisations – there were no people in this part of the trial who are hospitalised with Covid after getting the Oxford jab – but also it reduces the number of people who have Covid at all, even asymptomatically, by around two-thirds.
Where the various vaccines will be produced
“That reduction in transmission, as well as the fact there is no hospitalisations, the combination of that is very good news and it categorically supports the strategy we’ve been taking on having a 12-week gap between the doses because it shows that the strength of the protection you get is, in fact, slightly enhanced by a 12-week gap between the doses. It is good news all round.”
Mr Hancock added that changes to vaccines to adapt them to new coronavirus variants could be given fast approval by the UK regulator.
He explained: “We’re working with the companies on developing those and ensuring that they can get regulated and used much more quickly than first time round because it is just an adjustment to the vaccine rather than a completely new vaccine.”
Mr Beaune’s jibe is not the first aimed in the direction of the UK in recent months.
Nigel Farage criticised Mr Beaune in December
In December, after Mr Macron’s decision to ban UK lorries from travelling to French ports to slow the spread of a new variant of COVID-19, Mr Beaune tweeted a picture of trucks queuing at Dover, commenting: “For all the pseudo-patriots who praise the permanent closure of borders every day.”
He also bragged that his country would not witness any food shortages, earning a sharp rebuke from Nigel Farage.
The former Brexit Party leader told Express.co.uk: “The arrogance of these people knows no bounds.
“No Deal is better than an agreement with people that hate us.”
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)