Coronavirus in Scotland: Vaccine rollout in Europe 'a sorry tale in many ways' says public health professor

Professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, Linda Bauld, has said that the uncertainty across Europe over the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been ‘a sorry tale in many ways’.

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, when asked about the “start stop nature” of the use of the AstraZenca vaccine in Europe Prof Bauld said that “we have to follow the advice of the medicines regulators who know what they’re doing”, referencing that she has heard the AstraZenca vaccine being referred to as a “political football in the European Union”.

From a public health perspective she said that there were initial questions about whether the specific vaccine was effective in older people, resulting in Germany and other EU countries deciding not to give it to them.

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However, “now they are doing exactly the opposite” by not providing it to young adults due to “ongoing concerns about blood clots, adverse events, rare adverse events, linked to these vaccines.”

Vaccine rollout in Europe 'a sorry tale in many ways' says public health professor Linda Bauld.

Prof Bauld continued: “The European Medicines Agency have said very clearly that these two particular types of blood clots in particular, don't seem to occur at a greater degree amongst people who've been vaccinated but there does remain concern.”

She said that this reaction does indicate that the “alert system” is working, but that “the problem is this is happening at a time when it is absolutely crucial that countries rollout these vaccines, otherwise, as France is doing, more restrictions will be required.”

Prof Bauld went on to say that while Europe is experiencing a third wave of Covid-19, there are various differences to consider which give her hope that the UK won’t experience a similar situation.

These include the vaccine rollout in the UK being much further ahead than in Europe and lockdown restrictions being stricter here than in much of Europe, she said: “The EU average at the moment for first doses is 11.4 per cent.

"That's the latest data of all of the population, and it is 45.2% in the UK.

"So there are some differences and I hope this won't come to us but of course we still need to be cautious.”

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