Macron humiliation as AstraZeneca scepticism causes vaccine centres to close early

AstraZeneca: Over 600 people 'turn down' appointment in Calais

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Vaccine hesitancy in France continues to rise as hundreds of people refuse to turn up to their appointments leaving many vaccination centres no choice but to close early. In Calais, hundred refused to turn up to their appointments with the mayor stating many were holding out for other coronavirus vaccines like Pfizer or Moderna. Critics then looked at Emmanuel Macron who played a part in fueling anti-AstraZeneca sentiments but continues to insist the French vaccine programme is “effective”. 

French nurses working in vaccination centres in the north of France found hundreds of unused doses left behind over the weekend – indicating many refused to turn up to their appointments. 

Around 600 doses were found in Calais with neighbouring towns also seeing many not receiving their vaccines. 

Towns Gravelines and Boulogne-sur-Mer also had left over doses from the weekend with around 800 no-shows between them. 

Valenciennes to the south east of Calais had over 900 doses left behind.  

But thankfully the vaccine doses would not go to waste since they can be used for up to six months and will be injected into people’s arms this week. 

Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart told France 24: “They didn’t want to get the AstraZeneca vaccine and they wanted to wait for a different vaccine even if it takes a long time.”

Vaccine hesitancy in France continues to grow which has been fueled by blood clot fears surrounding the AstraZeneca jab and Emmanuel Macron’s early scepticism against the vaccine. 

In March, some European nations paused the rollout of the AZ vaccine over fears it caused fatal blood clots. 

Scientists put the rate of blood clots between two to 16 cases per million. 

In the UK, 30 people had clots out of 18 million people who were vaccinated by March 24. 

The World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency urged countries in Europe and around the world to reverse their vaccine pause stating it was “safe and effective to use”.

Virologists also warned the pausing of the rollout would kill more people than it would save since fewer people would choose or be able to be vaccinated from the more deadly coronavirus. 

Boris Johnson discusses ‘vaccine passports’

Emmanuel Macron has now put France back into another national lockdown for several weeks as new variants continue to cause havoc. 

Mr Macron stated during a public announcement that the vaccine programme was “effective” since it was driving down the number of deaths among the elderly. 

But the French President was noticeably opposed to the AstraZeneca vaccine at the beginning of the year when he stated it was “quasi-ineffective” for those aged 65+. 

A YouGov poll held towards the end of March revealed 61 percent of French respondents believe the AstraZeneca vaccine is unsafe – with only 9 percent of Brits thinking the same. 

The French Government is now desperately trying to reverse the damage done by stating vaccines are safe to have.

France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin: “Everyone has to get vaccinated as soon as it’s their turn. 

“All the vaccines protect against the coronavirus.”

Mr Macron is also reportedly fighting with scientific advisors over reopening the country for summer with some critics stating the French President believes he is an “expert” in virology after studying multiple papers. 

Mr Macron said he wanted France to have a “normal summer” but has been criticised that a short national lockdown would not do much against the country’s rising cases.  

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