To the production problems that AstraZeneca has, it could now be added that of mistrust on the part of citizens who should receive their vaccine . In Germany, workers in the health sector and other essential groups , who are a priority in the vaccination campaign and who are given the Anglo-Swedish injectable, are being reluctant with this vaccine and some have refused to take it.
Germany has administered 5 million doses of the vaccines, a figure that places it far from countries such as Israel, the United Kingdom or the United States. Most of the vaccines supplied in the country have been from the Pfizer vaccine, intended for the elderly population.
Of the 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca that Germany should have injected to healthcare personnel until last week, only 187,000 have been used, according to sources from the German Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases.
The distrust of healthcare personnel is based on some studies that indicate that the AstraZeneca vaccine seems less effective than those of Pfizer and Moderna and that it causes more side effects . This last factor has been confirmed by Germany’s largest vaccine agency, the Paul Erhlich Institute .
According to this center, a quarter of the people who have received the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine have suffered flu-like symptoms and 15% have experienced fever; figures higher than those registered with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, the same Paul Erhlich Institute has stressed that the vaccine is very effective and that the reactions are short in time.
The fact that German health authorities did not recommend the use of the Pfizer vaccine for those over 65 has also not contributed to much confidence .
The establishment of these workers has led the German Government to rethink the vaccination strategy so that the rejected doses are not lost . Thus, it has now included teachers among the groups that will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine as a priority. The Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, has also proposed including the police and the Army.
Also, the authorities have launched a campaign to assure the population that the AstraZeneca vaccine works. “The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective. It saves lives,” Angela Merkel spokesperson Steffen Seibert tweeted .
On the situation in Germany, even the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen , who has come out in defense of the AstraZeneca vaccine, has spoken: “I would put it on without thinking, just like the ones from Moderna or Pfizer,” he said. in statements to the German newspaper ‘Augsburger Allgemeine’.