AstraZeneca backlash: Thousands of Italian doctors launch bitter attack on UK vaccine

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The group have urged the country’s health ministry to stop using the Oxford-produced coronavirus jab because of questions over its efficacy. It is the latest attack on the Anglo-Swedish firm’s vaccine after a row with the European Commission over its supply to EU member states. The Italian doctors are furious private practitioners are being given AstraZeneca doses while their public-sector colleagues have received alternatives made by Pfizer and Moderna.

Plastic surgeon Paolo Mezzana, a representative for the group of 3,500 private specialists, said: “It’s not that we are acting like spoiled children.

“We are not against AstraZeneca for the sake of it, but we know that with their vaccine it takes longer to get a complete immunisation.

“We are not class B doctors.”

Healthcare chiefs have struggled to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been publicly criticised by French President Emmanuel Macron, in a number of member states.

Reports of citizens shunning the Oxford jab have emerged from Italy, Germany, France and Belgium, as well as others.

It has been said around 200,000 of the 1.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines available in Germany have been utilised because of the public opting to reject the shot.

German health minister Jen Spahn has urged people to accept the jab and said an alternative shot could be used at a later date if supplies allow for it.

The European Medicines Agency has authorised the vaccine for use across the bloc for all adults.

But despite the findings by the EU’s drugs watchdog at least 10 member states have chosen not to approve the jab for use in people over 65.

Mr Macron branded the shot “quasi-ineffective” for people in older age groups.

A German newspaper suggested that officials believed the vaccine only prevented eight percent of infections for older recipients.

In France, regulators have allowed doctors to use the AstraZeneca vaccine on members of the public between 50 and 64.

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However, less than half of GPs have ordered doses of the jab.

The French health minister is planning to launch a public campaign to combat the vaccine’s “image deficit”.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said she “would take the AstraZeneca vaccine without a second thought”.

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The German eurocrat added: “I would be vaccinated with the vaccine from AstraZeneca just as safely as with the products from BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna.

“The vaccine has been carefully examined, found to be safe and effective, and approved.”

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