AstraZeneca suspensions a 'European tragedy' says Andrew Neil
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Mr Neil told This Morning on ITV that the decision to suspend the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine had “the makings of a European tragedy.” His remarks come as a number of EU members announced they were freezing the distribution of the Anglo-Swedish drug over safety concerns, against the advice of the European Medicines Agency. Mr Neil also slammed Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkle for game-playing over the EU’s vaccine programme.
Mr Neil told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on Tuesday: “The British medical authority says AstraZeneca is fine to use.
“The European medical authorities say it is fine to use, the WHO the World Health Organisation says it’s fine to use.”
He added: “Europe is on the cusp of a third wave, Italy is already in the throes of a third-wave.
“The situation in Spain is dire!”
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Mr Neil insisted politics, not science lay behind France and Germany’s decision to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
He said: “In Germany Chancellor Merkel’s party has just been thumped in the regional elections.
“There is going to be a national election later this year they are in real trouble so lash out at the Brits.
“In France, Macron the President is now nip and tuck with madame Le Pen who is the extreme right-winger of French politics so he is trying to do whatever it takes as well.”
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Ireland, Denmark, Romania, Latvia, Austria, Lithuania, Estonia, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Bulgaria, have all also confirmed they would suspend the use of the AstraZeneca jab after reports of a small number of people had reported blood clots after having received a dose.
The move has caused further shocks to the EU vaccination programme which administered only around half of the shots delivered by the Anglo-Swedish firm thus far despite sitting on a stockpile of around 8 million vials.
The European Medicines Agency has set out to publish further research into the potential link to blood clots later today but has maintained that the drug is safe.
The body 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.”
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Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford University vaccine group, has said that regulators were right to investigate but insisted safety data was “very reassuring”.
He added: “When you then put a vaccination campaign on top of that, clearly those blood clots still happen and you’ve got to then try and separate out whether, when they occur, they are at all related to the vaccine or not.”
Meanwhile, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s Dr Phil Bryan said: “We are closely reviewing reports but the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause.
“People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”
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