AstraZeneca vaccine doses are struggling to find a taker in northern France

Doses of AstraZeneca vaccine did not find takers in vaccination centers in Nord and Pas-de-Calais, due to fear of side effects, elected officials and doctors alerted during the Easter weekend of the region.

“It’s more than a wind of panic”: the mayor (LR) of Calais Natacha Bouchart told AFP on Monday that she had “550 doses of AstraZeneca to sell” and only had about 70 appointments. you planned for the next few days, as the slots for other vaccines fill up easily.

“It has been eight days since it started and Friday (when the British regulator of the drug said it had identified 30 cases of blood clots in people who received this vaccine), it was the coup de grace” summarized the elected.

“We really need a national campaign to explain that this vaccine has no more negative consequences than Pfizer or Moderna,” she insists, pointing to “very poor communication which has serious consequences”, with cancellations meetings in Calais but also Boulogne-sur-Mer and Gravelines.

In Gravelines (North), Dr Thierry Mraovic, one of the coordinators of the Sportica vaccination center, indicated on his Twitter account that 600 unused doses had to be returned, deploring that “the current criteria for the AstraZeneca vaccine ( are) today limited to the population of over 55 years “.

Sunday, during a visit to the racecourse of Marcq-en-Baroeul (North) transformed into a vaccination center, the Minister of the Interior of Gerald Darmanin took the pulse of this concern and tried to reassure.

“We must pay attention to the fears of the French,” he noted, while stressing that vaccination was “the best bulwark against this virus which kills every day”. “It is obvious that all the vaccines which have been validated by the European and French health authorities are good vaccines”, he insisted.

Center officials explained to the minister that “when 500 appointments are put online for the Pfizer vaccine, they go in 5 minutes, while with AstraZeneca, it takes a day and a half, or even two days”.

“All the doses that are delivered are injected. We do not lose doses,” Arnaud Corvaisier, deputy director general of ARS Hauts-de-France, told AFP on Sunday.

“There is undoubtedly still more education to be done on this vaccine so that it can be considered like the others by a part of the population”, he added, acknowledging “one or two somewhat complicated situations” this week-end.

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