Macron and Merkel slammed for ‘game of politics’ set up over AstraZeneca vaccine

AstraZeneca: Expert criticises Merkel and Macron over suspension

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The French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have come under fire from the Jeremy Vine show’s resident medical expert Dr Smith over the decision to halt the rollout of the Oxford manufactured coronavirus vaccine. Dr Smith accused the EU leaders of playing “a game of politics” after Germany and France led a number of other European countries in halting AstraZeneca jabs amid safety concerns despite leading health bodies giving the dose the all-clear.

Virologist Dr Smith has weighed into the debate over whether there was scientific merit it pulling support for the Astrazeneca drug.

He told Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine programme on Tuesday: “The good science or not good science that did not stop Emmanuel Macron taking to the international stage and declaring that this vaccine is quasi ineffective in the over 65s.

“It didn’t stop Angela Merkel standing up when askes will you have this vaccine and instead of holding out her arm, giving a politicians answer and saying I am too old for this vaccine.

“So I am afraid this has become more a game of politics than a game of science that is clear.”

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The EU leading members France, Italy, Spain and Germany are among the European countries that have decided to halt the provision of the Oxford manufactured jab.

It comes following scaremongering from EU leaders such as Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel over the safety of the AstraZeneca drug.

Concerns were raised over signs the vaccine might be linked to increased risk of blood clots despite the bloc’s drugs watchdog saying the benefits of the vaccine “outweigh the risks of side effects”.

So far more than half of the bloc’s 27 countries have halted the use of the lifesaving drug.

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A French minister has since hinted Mr Macron simply decided to halt the use of the Oxford jab simply because he wanted to copy Berlin. 

The insider told the Politico website it was “because we would have three days of stress after the German decision”.

And French industry minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said continuing to use AstraZeneca’s doses would have fuelled “mistrust”.

“There must not be public mistrust. If you see decisions taken in other countries, the risk is that a mistrust of the vaccine develops,” she said.

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It followed reports of a small number of blood clots among people who had received the jab.

The EMA is due to publish further analysis on the reports of blood clots today but says the jab is safe.

The EU regulator said: “While its investigation is ongoing, the EMA currently remains of the view that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, outweigh the risks of side effects.”

Experts hit out at the EU countries for freezing the use of the jab despite evidence suggesting the vaccine carries minimal risks.

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