Trust in the AstraZeneca vaccine’s safety has plunged across Europe due to the blood clot row with massive falls over last two weeks in Spain, Germany, France and Italy.
The jab was already seen as unsafe in France but concerns have increased even further a YouGov poll found: some 61 per cent of people now say it is unsafe, a rise of 18 percentage points in three weeks, with less than 1 in 4 people (23 per cent) believing it is safe. Some 43 per cent of Italians say it is unsafe, a rise of 27 percentage points, and 36 per cent say it is safe, a fall of 18 percentage points.
In Spain, 52 per cent say AstraZeneca vaccine is unsafe, almost twice as many people on the previous survey, with 38 per cent saying it is safe, a fall of 21 percentage points.
The row has had a smaller impact in Britain where 77 per cent say the vaccine is safe, a fall of 4 percentage points, and just 9 per cent say it is unsafe, a rise of 4 percentage points. There has been no subsequent drop when it comes to impression of safety in Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccine.
A YouGov study in late February showed that Europeans were already more wary of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which had not seen nearly the same level of growth in confidence that the Pfizer and Moderna alternatives had in the preceding months. Nevertheless, in all countries studied except for France, more people considered the AZ vaccine to be safe than unsafe.
New entrants to the survey this month are Sweden and Denmark. In Sweden the AstraZeneca vaccine is still seen as safe by more people than not (43 per cent vs 34 per cent), while Danes are tied at 42 per cent. In both cases, however, the drug is seen as safe by far fewer people than the Pfizer and Moderna alternatives.
Matt Smith, Lead Data Journalist at YouGov, said: “After concerns about its protection and potency were raised by leaders across Europe, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has undoubtedly suffered damage to its reputation for safety on the continent. Not only have we seen considerable rises in those who consider it unsafe in the last two weeks in Europe, the AstraZeneca vaccine continues to be seen as substantially less safe than its Pfizer and Moderna counterparts.
“With a third wave of infections potentially emerging now across the Channel, officials everywhere will be worried if ongoing rows about AstraZeneca’s vaccine ends up damaging the rollout.”