Austrian Chancellor Kurz: ‘The danger is the virus, not the vaccine’

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
Photo: MARTTI KAINULAINEN / LEHTIKUVA / AFP
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz warned of a "massive setback" if the AstraZeneca vaccine was withdrawn across Europe. A decision is expected today.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told the ZIB2 programme on Wednesday evening he expects the European Medicine Agency (EMA) will not advise countries to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine, Der Standard newspaper reports.

He said the vaccine was “extremely relevant” for Europe and a stop “would be a massive setback”, and reiterated that he thinks Astra Zeneca is safe.

“Over 1,000 people die of corona in Europe every day. The danger is the virus and not the vaccination”, he said.

The EMA is due to release its findings over the AstraZeneca vaccine today.

Kurz this week promised to take the vaccine publicly to help assuage any concerns Austrians may have over its effectiveness. 

READ MORE: Austrian Chancellor to receive AstraZeneca vaccine publicly as European scepticism grows

“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.

“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.

Not ordering enough vaccine?

Kurz also defended his government’s vaccine procurement efforts amid evidence that not enough vaccine has been ordered

Austria only committed to buy 2.5 million of the 4 million doses of the recently approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine which were offered by the EU, Austria’s Der Standard newspaper reports.

The newspaper says this could mean Austria falls significantly behind in vaccination numbers compared with other partner countries in May.

“Very few people knew that there would be different delivery speeds,” said Kurz.

Kurz pointed out that an additional delivery of vaccine was to be delivered between April and June which would “rectify” the situation, Austria’s Kurier newspaper reports


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