ONE in five Europeans would refuse to take the AstraZeneca vaccine amid fears over its safety, a new poll has found.

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The Oxford-produced jab is less trusted than alternatives authorised for use across the European Union, the YouGov study showed. It comes after serious questions were raised over the vaccine’s efficacy by France’s President Emmanuel Macron and senior German officials. The poll results were released more than a month after the French leader claimed the vaccine was “quasi-ineffective” for pensioners.

And senior government officials incorrectly briefed German newspaper Handelsblatt that the AstraZeneca jab was only eight percent effective in over-65s.

The YouGov study revealed concerns over the safety of the jab has risen in the last three months.

It was found that 40 percent of respondents in Germany believe the AstraZeneca vaccine is unsafe, while 43 percent said it was safe.

And in France 43 percent said the same of the Oxford-produced shot, but only 33 percent thought the jab was safe to use.

AstraZeneca Emmanuel Macron Angela Merkel

AstraZeneca vaccine shunned by Europeans after French and German attacks on jab (Image: GETTY)

Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron said the AstraZeneca jab was ‘quasi-ineffective’ in older people (Image: GETTY)

More worryingly, between one in four and one in five across the EU’s largest say they would shun the jab in favour of an alternative.

Twenty-seven percent of Germans claimed they would not accept the AstraZeneca vaccine, compared to just six percent for the Pfizer and 12 percent for Moderna alternatives.

In Italy, 23 percent say they would reject the shot compared to seven percent for Pfizer and 11 percent for Modern.

Similar responses were recorded in France, with 22 percent of people claiming they would turn down the Oxford shot.

Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Image: GETTY)

Whereas in Britain, very few people said they would shun any of the coronavirus vaccines.

Just two percent would reject AstraZeneca compared to four percent for Pfizer and five percent for Moderna.

YouGov polled nearly 7,000 people across Germany, Italy, France and Britain between February 23 and March 2.

The AstraZeneca jab was subjected to numerous political attacks by senior EU figures after a spat between the manufacturer and the European Commission over delayed deliveries.

MUST READ: AstraZeneca crisis: Brussels forced to go cap in hand to US

Covid vaccination live

Covid vaccination live (Image: EXPRESS)

Mr Macron told reporters in January: “The real problem on AstraZeneca is that it doesn’t work the way we were expecting it to.

“Everything points to thinking it is quasi-ineffective on people over than 65, some say those 60 years or older.”

Real-world data has since shown the President’s claim was a completely false.

The European Medicines Agency, the bloc’s drugs watchdog, has said the vaccine is “safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 in people from 18 years of age”.


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EU made ‘mistake’ on Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine says expert

The German STIKO vaccine committee’s decision to restrict use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has had a detrimental impact on the country’s rollout, it was claimed.

Dr Uwe Janssens, head of the German Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, said the move to not use the jab in older people “really was a mistake”.

She said it resulted in “everyone in Germany” losing confidence in the jab.

Tobias Kurth, director of the Institute of Public Health at the Charite university hospital in Berlin, said the decision was a “communications disaster”.