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UK JVCI scientist slams Macron’s claims over AstraZeneca jab comments

A health official draws a dose of the AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine (FILE PHOTO) © REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

1 Februrary, 2021

After the French president questioned the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca jab in over-65s, a member of the UK’s inoculation committee has said: “politicians need to understand the science” before they make false claims.

Professor Anthony Harnden of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) told Good Morning Britain on Monday.  “In my view the politicians need to understand the science before they make utterances like that,” 

“This vaccine [AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 jab], from the data, is very very effective against hospitalisations and deaths and nearly 100% effective actually,” he noted.

“It is a really good safe vaccine and any older person that has received it should have absolute confidence that it is a good vaccine.”

Harnden’s comments come in response to claims by French President Emmanuel Macron that AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine was “quasi-ineffective.” 

He also added that “Today we think that it is quasi-ineffective for people over 65,” he told reporters on Friday. “What I can tell you officially today is that the early results we have are not encouraging for 60 to 65-year-old people concerning AstraZeneca,”  

On Friday, the vaccine was recommended and final approval given by both the European Medicines Agency, and the European Commission. The EU, AstraZeneca, and the British government were engaged in rancour with Brussels demanding the AstraZeneca to redirect UK-made jabs to make up for a manufacturing shortfall in Europe. 

On Friday evening, the row futher escalated as the EU said it would be triggering an emergency provision in the Brexit deal in control Covid-19 vaccine exports, including the possible introduction of checks at the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland to prevent shipments entering the UK. 

The EU later made a U-turn after strong condemnation from Dublin, London and Belfast.

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