EU made ‘grave mistake’ delaying AstraZeneca vaccine as member states backtrack

EU made ‘mistake’ on Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine says expert

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EU member states Germany and France are expected to begin using the AstraZeneca vaccine on the over-65s in their population. Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) member Professor Robert Read insisted European politicians made a grave mistake questioning the efficacy. Both French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been criticised for their attacks on the vaccine. 

While speaking on LBC with Tom Swarbrick, Professor Read insisted this was a judgment left reserved to scientists rather than politicians.

He insisted, in future, European leaders should listen to their scientific advisors the same way Britain has.

Mr Swarbrick said: “Europe is set to approve AstraZeneca for the over 65s, in the coming weeks.

“What is your personal view in how that has been handled?”

Mr Read replied: “I think the European politicians made a grave mistake.

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“Our politicians don’t make scientific judgments on vaccine efficacy and I expect the EU’s politicians to do the same thing.

“This is a scientific discussion, it is about whether a vaccine works in a certain population or not.

“The evidence has been that it does.”

Professor Read explained why the AstraZeneca vaccine was likely to be just as effective with older recipients.

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He said: “There is no biological plausibility that a vaccine that works well in a 60-year-old would not work well on a 70-year-old.

“Of course there is some fading efficacy in the older the population but you only need to get over a certain threshold to protect the population very strongly.

“I think European politicians were wrong, I don’t think their regulators said the same thing.

“There regulators looked at the evidence and gave the broadly the same decision that our regulators did.”

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The LBC host queried whether this mistake from European politicians had cost lives.

He said: “But not just wrong, catastrophically wrong.

“We are talking about costing lives wrong.”

Professor Read replied: “I don’t know if we have the data to support that.

“But as I say, I think politicians have to listen to the advice of their scientists and that is what has happened in the UK.

“Wherever that is practised health benefits will accrue.”

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