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Europe’s failure to give AstraZeneca Covid jab ‘could be blamed on soaring cases and lockdowns’

Europe’s failure to provide the elderly with AstraZeneca Covid injections could be why the continent is seeing a new wave, a vaccine boss has suggested.

Some countries are face new lock because infections are so high and hospitals are becoming strained due to the influx of people being hospitalized.

Police officers walk before an anti-lockdown protest in Austria

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Police officers walk before an anti-lockdown protest in AustriaCredit: AP
Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, said the UK did not have as many hospital admissions compared to Europe. He suggests this is because it uses AZ Covid jab in the elderly

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Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, said the UK did not have as many hospital admissions compared to Europe. He suggests this is because it uses AZ Covid jab in the elderlyCredit: Getty

New restrictions and threats of Compulsory vaccines in Austria and Germany caused outrage and protests across the region.

But the UK, while seeing a high number of Covid cases, has not recorded a serious hospitalization or death for months – despite hundreds of people becoming unwell every day.

Vaccines have largely broken the link between infection and serious illness that existed long ago.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, has suggested this is because the UK has been using the company’s Covid jab sprayer, created by the University of Oxford, to protect the elderly.

He told BBC Radio 4 Today: “It’s really interesting when you look at the UK – where there’s been a lot of peak infections, but not so many hospitalizations compared to Europe.

“In the UK, this vaccine has been used to immunize older people. Whereas in Europe, at first, people thought that this vaccine would not work for the elderly.”

Asked if it was a European mistake that has led to the current wave of infections, Mr Soriot said: “I’m not saying there was any mistake by anyone.

“But there’s still a lot of data that needs to be provided that we don’t have.”

The EU shunned AZ jab in the early days of the vaccine’s rollout while the UK races to get a dose from December 2020.

Some countries initially refused to use it in people over 65, concerned that there is not enough data that it worked.

Until March – three months later UK – France and Germany finally approved the stab for the elderly.

Then there were investigations into blood clots caused by the stabbing, which caused a series of European countries pause their release in a domino effect.

The move has baffled scientists, with the World Health Organization urging countries to keep using the shot until more concrete evidence is available.

After a “reasonable link” found to have an increased risk of blood clots in young adults, most European countries have changed their guidelines to only older adults who are advised to have the injection, including the UK.

But Denmark completely abandoned life-saving stab.

European countries focus almost exclusively on the use of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines, with a combination of Johnson & Johnson, China’s Sinopharm vaccine and Russia’s Sputnik V.

In the UK, the first and second doses of AZ and Pfizer are roughly equally divided. Enhanced shot almost entirely Pfizer, due to the risk of blood clots.

Direct comparisons of different vaccines used in countries with outbreaks are difficult, scientists say, and therefore it is virtually impossible to say which vaccines work well. than other types.

Mr. Soriot asserted that the AstraZeneca vaccine produced a higher immune response than other Covid vaccines due to the increase in T cells.

T cells are the part of the immune system that are thought to offer the longest protection against bugs, possibly years, but are not as easy to test as antibodies.

Asked if the AstraZeneca vaccine was the reason why there were fewer hospital admissions in the UK, Mr Soriot said: “What I’m saying is that T cells have an important role to play and in particular it’s involved. on the stability of the response, especially in the elderly.

“And this vaccine has been shown to stimulate T cells to a greater extent in older people.

“And so we haven’t seen a lot of hospital admissions in the UK – certainly a lot of infections, everyone is talking about those cases.

“But the question is, are you seriously ill? Are you hospitalized or not? And we haven’t seen that many hospitalizations in the UK yet.”

Hospitalizations per population (million) across Europe since summer

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Hospitalizations per population (million) across Europe since summerCredit: Our world in data
UK weekly hospital admissions compared to Europe as of November 14

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UK weekly hospital admissions compared to Europe as of November 14Credit: Our world in data

“The T-cell response takes a little longer to come into play, but it is actually more durable,” explains Mr. Soriot. It lasts longer.

“Everybody’s focused on antibodies, but you’ll see those antibodies decline over time.

“What remains, and very important, is this T-cell response, and as soon as the virus hits you, they will wake up and come to your rescue and protect you.

“So you can get an infection but they come to the rescue and you don’t have to be hospitalized.”

Dr Peter English, Chair of the BMA Public Health Committee until October 2020, says it is “sensible” to protect T cells that are helping the UK stand up.

But he said he would “very much like to see the evidence on which this claim is based”.

Previous studies have shown that AZ jab is more effective at generating T cells than vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna, which use a different technology called mRNA.

As for exmaple, scientists from Oxford and Switzerland said in July that the ability to protect T cells is a “key feature” adenovirus vaccines such as Oxford and J&J jabs.

However, scientists say that in the real world, the impact of this on the epidemic is still unclear.

One research (COMCOV) found that although AZ jab induced more T cells than Pfizer, immediately after two doses, the extent was almost the same.

Professor Eleanor Riley, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University of Edinburgh, said: “It appears, from a growing number of clinical trials, that vaccine mRNA initially induces antibody levels. higher neutralization than the Oxford AZ vaccine.

“It appears that the original Oxford AZ vaccine produced higher amounts of T cells than the mRNA vaccine.

“However, getting good data on this is complicated.

“Different vaccines have been released at different times and in different groups of people with different potential risks of serious illness, making direct comparisons between them very difficult. “

Dr Lance Turtle, Senior Clinical Lecturer and Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases, University of Liverpool, said: “At present, it is not possible to say for certain whether the AZ Covid-19 vaccine is better than any other. any other vaccines.

“Based on real experience, this is unlikely. If it were, the difference would probably be very small.”

Vaccines are used in Europe. The UK is almost evenly divided by the stabs of AstraZeneca and Pfizer

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Vaccines are used in Europe. The UK is almost evenly divided by the stabs of AstraZeneca and PfizerCredit: Statista
The head of the EU said there is a risk of a new Covid variant in Europe

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https://www.the-sun.com/health/4125097/europes-failure-astrazeneca-covid-jab-blame-for-lockdowns/ Europe’s failure to give AstraZeneca Covid jab ‘could be blamed on soaring cases and lockdowns’

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