More and more people in Germany are avoiding the AstraZeneca vaccine, with reports of doctors, carers and nurses refusing to be immunized. Deutsche Welle describes the reasons.
A total of 200 employees at a hospital in the German state of Saarland were registered for vaccination. But more than half never showed up at the appointed time – without warning that they had no intention of coming.
It’s not just Saarland doctors who are boycotting the Oxford vaccine – more and more people in Germany don’t want to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung publishes official figures showing that as of February 14, 85% of the available doses of BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine, about 63% of the Moderna vaccine doses and only 19% of the AstraZeneca doses received had been used in Germany. .
This is how an absurd situation arises. Mass vaccination in the country is stalling due to a shortage of vaccines, as a result of which many Germans will have to wait months for their turn, and at the same time some of the medical staff who have the opportunity to be vaccinated now, in fact, refuse of this privilege.
The favorite vaccine of the Germans
Maybe that’s why the authoritative weekly The Zeit published an article this week with the eloquent title “AstraZeneca is not a second-quality vaccine.” The qualities of the British vaccine were also defended by the famous German virologist Christian Drosten. The title of his podcast on the subject reads “The Astra vaccine is much better than its image.” In fact, it was officially recognized that a not very positive attitude towards the British preparation had developed in Germany.
This is evidenced by two opinion polls published in early February. In a study by the University of Hamburg, which included the responses of people who were determined to be vaccinated or still hesitated, 48.2% said they did not prefer a particular drug, 33.3% called the vaccine BioNTech / Pfizer, 5.8% preferred that of Moderna and only 2% expressed a preference for the vector vaccine at Oxford University. The results of the research of the Force Institute are similar. When asked by sociologists “How would you react if you were not offered the vaccine you prefer”, 64% said they would still agree, while 24% of respondents, one in four, said they would probably give up vaccination. Both surveys clearly showed that the Germans favored the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine.
There are a number of reasons for the clear preference for the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine. First, it was created in Germany, and the Germans have confidence in the quality of local production. Second, the partner of the German company BioNTech – the famous American company Pfizer – is one of the leaders in the global pharmaceutical industry. And third, their vaccine was developed on the basis of innovative mRNA technology, which is considered a real achievement in medicine. There have been countless publications about the German vaccine, and the media have raced to interview its creators, Mainz professor Ugur Sahin and his wife, Ozlem Turedji, so there are very specific people behind the drug. Another important factor for trust, of course, is the high efficiency of this vaccine – as much as 95%.
AstraZeneca: the unloved vaccine
There are also several reasons for skepticism about the British vaccine. In Germany and a number of other countries, it is only allowed for people under the age of 65, and in Spain and Italy, even for people under the age of 55. It is for this reason that in Germany it was intended to vaccinate medical staff. The age restriction is explained only by the fact that so far there are not enough data from clinical trials with people over 65 years.
Precisely due to insufficient data, Switzerland postponed the registration of the Oxford vaccine. Added to this is a report from South Africa that this preparation does not protect well enough against the local mutation of the coronavirus, which has already reached Europe.
And yet: the main reason for skepticism is the effectiveness of the Oxford vaccine. Many wonder who would want a vaccine with an effectiveness of 70%, when there is another whose effectiveness is 95%.
In this regard, on the pages of the weekly “Die Zeit” experts clarify that the British vaccine in any case guarantees protection against severe COVID-19. This lower percentage only indicates how much the risk of developing the symptoms of the disease is reduced.
“All available vaccines are very successful compared to what awaits us if we are not vaccinated,” said German virologist Christian Drosten. He sees no reason to underestimate the British vaccine, and German politician Karl Lauterbach, who is a doctor by education, says that he will get this vaccine and that all skeptical or openly critical statements about the drug AstraZeneca are unjustified.
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