French MEP slams 'laughing stock' EU over vaccine rollout
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National Rally MEP Jordan Bardella criticised the EU’s vaccination programme calling it a “debacle” as the continent struggles to keep control of the pandemic. Major European nations have paused the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid claims of fatal blood clotting among those who have been jabbed. Mr Bardella was furious that the EU’s unified approach has caused havoc for member-states but appeared to welcome that it was slowly unravelling as more countries look elsewhere to secure their coronavirus vaccines.
Speaking to French radio station Europe 1, Mr Bardella voiced his anger over Europe’s handling of the pandemic.
He said: “The European Union missed vaccine orders, was completely opaque in the negotiations and today we are the laughing stock of the world.
“We are undergoing a real vaccine debacle, this is going to have consequences on our health situation and on economic recovery.
“Now there are countries that are finding alternatives, Austria is developing a commercial deal with Israel to recover vaccines that have not been used.
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“Hungary is speaking to Russia, Poland with China in order to directly buy vaccines.
“France is doing nothing of the sort we’re paralyzed.”
The neighbouring country has been criticised for its handling of the pandemic and slow vaccination update among the population.
President Emmanuel Macron has faced criticisms for not locking down the country fully and for dismissing the AstraZeneca vaccine’s effectiveness.
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The president was quoted as saying the AZ jab was “Quasi-ineffective” for those aged over 65.
Patients in Paris have also been transferred to hospitals in rural areas to ease the burden on the capital’s medical facilities.
France now joins Italy, Germany and Spain as the major European countries that have paused its rollout due to blood clotting risks.
The World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency have not told countries to pause the rollout and have reiterated the vaccines are safe to use.
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Meanwhile in the UK, over 24 million people have received their first vaccination with the AstraZeneca jab mainly used.
The UK government will open up the programme to new priority groups in the coming weeks as production is scaled up to meet with the new demand.
Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI), said: “Those first nine priority groups included 99% of all hospitalisations and deaths, certainly in wave one of the pandemic, so we’re feeling very optimistic.
“We’re seeing a very sharp reduction in the deaths and hospitalisations throughout the country.”
Covid deaths in the UK have fallen dramatically with 64 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test recorded on Monday.
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