According to a new YouGov poll, 61% of people in France now believe that the AstraZeneca vaccine is unsafe, with Germany following closely at 55% – creating fears about the potential impact of vaccine hesitancy on the rollout
The change in perception of AstraZeneca comes after the blood clot fears, which led to a pause in vaccine rollout across several countries in Europe.
The European Medicines Agency concluded an investigation on 18 March, finding that AstraZeneca did not cause blood clots in those who took it. Prior to this conclusion, the EMA recommended that the EU keep using the vaccine as there was not enough evidence to suggest a freeze was necessary.
The blood clot story that resonated across the EU
People across the world highlighted that blood clot risks for birth control are significantly proven, and overshadow the highly rare blood clot cases that had been linked to the COVID vaccine. However, these medicines continue to be freely prescribed.
Researchers in New York found that blood clots were a significant risk for people who catch COVID itself, that could lead to amputation or death where the correct mix of pre-existing medical factors are present.
The link between blood clot risks and the AstraZeneca vaccine was scientifically disproven, but the public had already heard enough.
According to poll data released by YouGov, only Britain managed to keep public confidence for the use of AstraZeneca – with 77% of people believing the COVID vaccine was still safe to use.
Significant changes in AstraZeneca belief across the EU
In Sweden, where there was never a sustained lockdown, the AstraZeneca vaccine is seen as safe by 43% of people. In Denmark, there is a clear impasse of public opinion. Both those who believe in and don’t believe in the safety of the vaccine stand at 42% each.
Over in Italy, faith in AstraZeneca fell to 36%, while Spain saw a new low of 38%.
In Germany, a country that recently received a large shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 55% of people believe the vaccine to be unsafe. The worst majority of disbelief is however France, which has a strong 61% of people who say that the vaccine is not safe to use.
Matt Smith, lead data journalist at YouGov, wrote that: “It is also worth noting that there has not been any spillover concern over the AstraZeneca vaccine to the Pfizer and Moderna offerings, both of which are seen as exactly as safe as they were 3 weeks ago.”
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