‘Macron said it was quasi-ineffective!’ BBC editor praises stunning Oxford vaccine results

Oxford vaccine: Fergus Walsh on results and Macron’s comments

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Earlier reviews on the impact of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine on curbing the infection rate of the coronavirus found the jab to reduce hospitalisation risks by 94 percent after the first dose is administered. BBC Medical Editor Fergus Walsh welcomed the results as stunning as he appeared to deliver a slight dig at French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday. President Macron last month challenged the efficacy of the AstraZeneca jab as he claimed it was inefficient among the over-65s.

Mr Walsh said: “If we look at the over-80s, the most frail group, the ones at the highest risk of dying from Covid, the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines combined cut the risk of hospitalisation by at least 80 percent at the fourth week.

“That’s absolutely massive and it’s the first data we’ve had proving that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is highly effective as predicted in the elderly.

“You’ll remember a few weeks ago President Macron in France said it was maybe quasi-ineffective in the elderly, whatever that meant.

“I predict that the French Health authorities, the Swedish, the Polish, the Italians and others, which have restricted the vaccine to younger groups, will in due course look at this data and say yes, we’re going to use this vaccine in older people.”

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The BBC editor continued: “The vaccine is not 100 percent effective and there is poorer uptake in deprived areas and among Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups who are at higher risk anyway.

“The take-home message is if you’re offered a jab, get it if you haven’t got it already.”

The results of the Scottish study on the Oxford jab, which involved 1,14 million people already inoculated, already pushed some European leaders into significant U-turns after dismissing the vaccine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s official spokesman urged citizens to back the vaccine to get the country’s rollout back on track.

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He said: “The vaccine from #AstraZeneca is safe and highly effective.

“It prevents many infections and protects against serious illness.

“Vaccination can save lives.”

The scepticism Mr Macron and other European leaders showed towards the AstraZeneca vaccine reportedly resulted in hundreds of people refusing to receive the jab in favour of alternative vaccines.

Experts are still collecting data on the effectiveness of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and will publish those results when available.

But early evidence suggests the Oxford jab also offers a “good level of protection”, PHE said in a statement.

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The new data found the Pfizer jab was just as effective against the Kent variant of coronavirus as it was against the original pandemic strain.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This crucial report shows vaccines are working. It is extremely encouraging to see evidence that the Pfizer vaccine offers a high degree of protection against coronavirus.

“Vaccines save lives, and so it is vital we roll out the vaccine programme as fast as possible, and that as many people as possible take the jab.

“This new evidence shows that the jab protects you, and protects those around you.

“It is important that we see as much evidence as possible on the vaccine’s impact on protection and on transmission, and we will continue to publish evidence as we gather it.

“As we roll out the jab, it is vital people continue to play their role in protecting the NHS by sticking with the rules.”

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