Paris, March 1 (AFP/APP): Already facing a daunting Covid vaccination challenge, French and German authorities are fighting to convince more people that a jab from the pharma giant AstraZeneca is just as effective as others.
Stocks of the vaccines from the British-Swedish firm are going unused in both countries, depriving officials of a crucial tool to help end a pandemic that has sparked a social and economic calamity on a scale not seen since World War II. Only 273,000 AstraZeneca doses have been administered in France out of 1.7 million received as of end-February, according to health ministry figures.
The poor take-up comes even as the target group for the jabs, health workers over 50 and people with other serious health risks, can get the vaccine directly from their doctor instead of waiting for appointments at vaccination centres. Experts say it is also cheaper to produce than the two other vaccines approved for Europe, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, and does not require ultracold storage, making it easier to deploy.
But both France and Germany refused to authorise AstraZeneca’s vaccine for people over 65, fanning fears over its effectiveness.
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