France has already limited the use of the vaccine on people above the age of 65 over fears it is less effective on them and following comments regarding the issue by French President Emmanuel Macron.
A number of French medics are reportedly now shunning the vaccine altogether. So far, 149 doctors in France, of 10,000 vaccinated, reportedly suffered “high-intensity flu symptoms” after taking one dose of the Oxford vaccine, according to the French national safety agency for medicines, reporting high temperature, aches and headaches.
The government has advised medics to stagger their vaccinations to ensure their facilities’ continued function.
Doctors in Italy have voiced similar concerns, preferring the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine.
One doctor told Italian newspaper La Stampa he had refused the AstraZeneca vaccine, adding: “Why have they vaccinated hospital gardeners with more efficient vaccines while we doctors, who each day risk infection or risk infecting others, are offered something less efficient?”
Like France, Italy has limited use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 55 over fears about its efficacy when compared to the Pfizer vaccine. It has prioritized vaccinating public workers and the elderly using stockpiles of its Pfizer jab and of a third vaccine produced by Moderna.
“Since Pfizer and Moderna are more efficient, we want to keep them for older, more vulnerable Italians,” an Italian health spokesman said.
Only 1.53 million Italians have so far received a vaccine for COVID-19, compared to 14 million in the UK, where no such qualms about the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been raised.
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