Austrian Chancellor to receive AstraZeneca vaccine publicly as European scepticism grows

Austrian Chancellor to receive AstraZeneca vaccine publicly as European scepticism grows
Photo: Alex Halada/AFP
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz promised on Friday he will publicly receive the AstraZeneca jab amid growing scepticism about the vaccine in several European countries.

“Since there are many people who are worried, I will also get vaccinated with AstraZeneca to show that I have confidence in the vaccine,” Kurz said at a press conference on Friday,

“I’ve got a clear picture (of the vaccine’s safety) here.”

While saying that the decision to get vaccinated is highly personal, Austrians should not be concerned about the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine. 

Kurz told the public “AstraZeneca is used in many countries around the world”. 

Authorities in countries all across Europe have been facing increasing pressure to stop administering the shot, with Denmark, Norway and Iceland stopping immunisations with the vaccine this week.

Austria on Sunday decided ti stop using doses from one batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine while the death of a nurse who received it is investigated. 

READ MORE: Austria withdraws AstraZeneca batch as nurse death probed

Officials in Italy this week made a similar decision around a suspect batch of the vaccine. 

Kurz said that decisions to approve specific vaccines “can never be political, but must be made by experts”.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has refused repeated public calls to be vaccinated publicly with the AstraZeneca, saying she will wait until her turn to be vaccinated.

AstraZeneca still approved for all ages in Austria

At the beginning of March, Austria indicated it would change its position on the AstraZeneca vaccine and will now recommend it be used for over 65s.

READ MORE: Why are a fifth of Austria’s vaccine doses still sitting in storage?

Austria’s National Vaccination Board said new data justified the expansion of the vaccine to all age groups.

Health Minister Rudolf Anschober welcomed the decision, saying Austria’s “vaccination campaign should now continue to pick up speed”.

Austria’s Health Ministry had previously indicated there was not enough information to overturn the previous recommendation that the vaccine only be made available for under 65s, Austria’s Der Standard newspaper reports

“The current recommendation was confirmed” said the Health Ministry on Monday. 

“Based on only very few cases of the disease, no reliable statements about the effectiveness of this vaccine for people over 65 are possible at this point in time,” it said.

 


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