AstraZeneca: Expert discusses 'risk' with jab suspensions
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BBC reporter Ros Atkins argued that EU member states banning the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine was likely to reduce confidence in the vaccines. He insisted that this suspension would be “quasi-ineffective” in raising the confidence of the European people. Emmanuel Macron had notably suggested the AstraZeneca vaccine would be “quasi-ineffective” in the over-65s.
He added that Mr Macron and other European leaders would further tarnish the reputation of the vaccine which could result in lost lives.
Mr Atkins said: “You cannot apply this level of scientific caution when your vaccine has a reputation issue.
“This is despite it being found to be safe and effective and there is a pandemic that urgently needs to be tamed.
“There is also criticism of the fundamental calculation here, some argue that while these symptoms could be caused by the vaccine chance is a more likely explanation.”
The BBC reporter then referenced a statistician who raised his concerns over the strategy by the EU member states.
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University of Cambridge Stastiscian Sir David Spiegelhalter said: “It’s a common human tendency to attribute a causal effect between different events.
“Even when there isn’t one present, we wash the car and the next day a bird relieves itself all over the bonnet, for example.”
Mr Atkins continued: “The people across Europe taking these decisions are not me or you looking at a dirty car bonnet and drawing the wrong conclusion, these are leading medical regulators.
“They say their decision is about confidence building.”
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Ireland’s Immunisation Committee Chair, Karina Butler defended these actions by Ireland and other nations.
She insisted it would help build confidence in the vaccine programmes.
She said: “Look at this in a way- this should increase your confidence in vaccination programmes.
“What you want is for us to deliver safe programmes and we are taking every measure to make sure that is what we are doing.”
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The BBC reporter hit back mocking this assessment with reference to a phrase uttered by French President Emmanuel Macron.
He said: “Perhaps that will work, perhaps it is the best course of action.
“There is a risk that if building confidence is the goal, bringing in a raft of suspicions based on far from conclusive data may be, to use an Emmanuel Macron phrase, quasi-effective at doing that.
“It is not hard to imagine confidence falling because of all these suspensions.
“If that happens that will impact the speed of the vaccine rollout which in turn will bring about a human cost.”
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