German states approve approve AstraZeneca – but mayor admits ‘half people refuse them’

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AstraZeneca ‘is a good vaccine’ says Anthony Fauci

Since the end of March, the AstraZeneca vaccine – which was developed with Oxford University – was only used for people aged 60 and over. But now, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Bavaria and Saxony have approved the vaccine for all age groups.

Bavaria’s Minister of Health and Care, Klaus Holetschek said: “The doctors know their patients well and know who they can make a vaccination offer with this active ingredient from the group of under 60s, taking into account the requirements of the Standing Vaccination Commission.”

Since last week, people over the age of 18 in Bavaria have also been vaccinated with a special contingent of the jab.

More and more districts across the state have also announced they would offer doses of the jab for all adults.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use by EU regulators earlier this year but last month Germany stopped administering the vaccine over fears of blood clots.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Image: Getty)

Bavaria's Minister of Health and Care, Klaus Holetschek

Bavaria’s Minister of Health and Care, Klaus Holetschek (Image: Getty)

Health Minister Jens Spahn said at the time: “The background to this decision follows new reports of cases of cerebral vein thrombosis connected with an AstraZeneca vaccination.

“In light of these newly reported cases, the Paul Ehrlich Institute today reevaluated the situation and recommended a suspension of vaccinations and further analysis.”

He said the decision was “not political” and not taken lightly.

France, Italy and Spain all halted the use of the vaccine amid growing concerns as EU member states recorded a number of blood clots after the vaccine was administered to patients.

READ MORE: EU Medicines Agency say Johnson & Johnson jab benefits outweigh risk

German health minister Jens Spahn

German health minister Jens Spahn (Image: Getty)

Portugal, Slovenia, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Latvia, Austria, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Bulgaria also all halted the inoculation of the jab.

Iceland and Norway, who are both not members of the EU but have joined the European Economic Area (EEA), also halted the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Concerns about AstraZeneca expressed by various European leaders has had a detrimental impact on those committed to a rollout.

In Innsbruck, Austria’s fifth-largest city, people are actively refusing to take it.

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Coronavirus cases around the world

Coronavirus cases around the world (Image: Express)

Mayor Georg Willi said only 50 percent of people offered the AstraZeneca vaccine turn up.

He warned even though AstraZeneca is the easiest vaccine to store, the high refusal rate leads to logistical problems.

Artur Wechselberger, President of the Tyrolean Medical Association, said the AstraZeneca vaccine is not accepted by many of those registered for vaccination.

Innsbruck’s Vice Mayor Hannes Anzengruber said no vaccine would be thrown away.

German states allow AstraZeneca vaccine to be used

German states allow AstraZeneca vaccine to be used (Image: Getty)

He said: “We have sufficient back-up lists according to the vaccination priority list, and there is still enough demand from emergency service organisations.”

In the UK, people under the age of 30 will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine following evidence linking the jab to rare blood clots.

The recommendation came after a review by the UK drugs regulator found by the end of March, 79 people had suffered rare blood clots after vaccination.

Out of these people, 19 had died but the regulator reassured this was not proof the jab caused the clots.

Boris Johnson received the AstraZeneca vaccine

Boris Johnson received the AstraZeneca vaccine (Image: Getty)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the AstraZeneca vaccine had “already saved thousands of lives”.

A UK government spokesperson said: “The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives.

“Everybody who has already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should receive a second dose of the same brand, irrespective of age, except for the very small number of people who experienced blood clots with low platelet counts from their first vaccination.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also urged people to “trust in our doctors and scientists” and said he was looking forward to receiving his second AstraZeneca dose.

Addtional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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