Vaccine row: De Gucht grilled by Boulton on AstraZeneca jab
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Adam Boulton challenged the former EU Trade Commissioner on why the European Union remains adamant to secure more AstraZeneca vaccine doses despite widespread hesitancy. Medical organisations from across member states have reported support for the Anglo-Swedish jab has dwindled amid claims from national governments about risky after-effects of inoculation. But despite the European Medicine Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) refuting the claims, Europeans are still reportedly refusing to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Despite the hesitancy however, Brussels has been urging the pharmaceutical giant to deliver on its contractual obligations, which had Mr Boulton highlight the paradox of the ongoing vaccine row.
The Sky News presenter said: “Hang on, hang on.
“The other question is, even if you di have all this AstraZeneca vaccine production, would you even use it?
“I mean, we know that it’s being stockpiled, that the European public is resisting.”
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He continued: “We just had the Danish medical authorities, in spite of the European EMA saying that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, they still have problems with it.
“Isn’t the European Union, in complaining about AstraZeneca, really asking for something it doesn’t want anyway which seems like, to turn it back on you, vaccine nationalism with little health point.”
Mr de Gucht insisted the European Union is not questioning the validity of the AstraZeneca vaccine and is ready to ramp up the rollout programme across the bloc but requires the company to deliver on its pledged doses.
He said: “No, that’s certainly not accurate what you’re saying.
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“The reason we sent a warning to people on vaccination earlier on is that we’re not sure on the deliveries by AstraZeneca.
“They have defaulted many times on their deliveries. We are able to do the vaccinations as quickly as you do in Britain but we don’t have the vaccine, that’s what we’re having.
“We have a perfectly-organized system but first of all you need the doses.”
He added: “What we do not accept is that we get castigated by our citizens that it doesn’t go quickly enough while at the same time we’re exporting to everybody and nobody is exporting to us.”
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On Thursday, Denmark confirmed it will prolong its suspension of AstraZeneca shots by three weeks pending further investigations into a potential link between the vaccine and rare cases of blood clots.
Denmark was among the first countries in Europe this month to suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after reports of a small number of unusual cases of blood clots, registered both in Denmark and elsewhere.
“Our basis for making a final decision on the further use of the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca is too uncertain,” director of the Danish Health Authority, Soren Brostrom, said in a statement.
“Many studies have been launched, but we do not yet have any conclusions. That is why we have decided to extend the suspension.”
Most countries that temporarily suspended the vaccine have now resumed administering shots following recommendations from the European Union’s drug watchdog and the World Health Organization (WHO).
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