FRANCE has made ANOTHER U-turn declaring the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe – but only for those over the age of 55.
Regulators have recommended young people avoid the jab due to blood clot risks, just days after telling them it was safe.
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Health officials said the advice was based on the fact that blood clots, which prompted the vaccine's suspension in France and other European countries, had been seen only in recipients aged under 55.
Otherwise, use of the vaccine in France should resume "without delay" after its suspension earlier this week, they said.
It is the third change to the country's vaccine policy in quick succession and follows French President Emmanuel Macron himself claiming the jab was "quasi-ineffective on people older than 65, some say those 60 years or older".
But the EU's regulator said the Oxford jab is "safe and effective" for all age groups, marking the end of days of dithering.
France resumed use of the vaccine today with Prime Minister Jean Castex, himself aged 55, having the jab hours live on television in a bid to bolster public confidence.
But France's ambassador to the UK got the AstraZeneca vaccine on the NHS while the jab was still BANNED by her own nation.
Catherine Colonna took to Twitter this morning to boast about receiving the safe vaccine as Paris lifted the jab's pointless suspension after a ruling by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Italy and Germany have also resumed the rollout out of the AstraZeneca vaccine after the EU finally declared it safe.
The humiliating U-turn came after all three countries led the way in suspending use of the jab amid an unfounded safety scare.
More than a dozen EU nations had halted its use over unsubstantiated fears it may trigger blood clots after what leaders admitted was a political decision.
Within minutes of regulator EMA's announcement, Italy became the first state to say it will resume use of the jab from today.
Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's biggest party Lega, said heads should roll over the fiasco and urged "full steam ahead" on deploying the AstraZeneca shot.
In France, a government spokesman said there is now no reason for the country not to use the AstraZeneca jab.
It comes as:
- UK holds secret talks with India to get AstraZeneca supply back on track
- Lockdown could last LONGER as the Covid vaccine delay may spark a rise in cases, experts warn
- All adults WILL get a vaccine by July and the roadmap out of lockdown is still on course
- EU chief Ursula von der Leyen threatens to seize Covid vaccines from UK
Germany's largest state Rhineland-Palatinate, with a population of four million, became the first reintroduce it.
Authorities in Berlin said two large vaccination centers that offer the AstraZeneca jab to people in the German capital will reopen.
Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Slovenia are also due to resume use of the vaccine today, while Portugal will resume on Monday, Spain and the Netherlands next week.
It comes as Emer Cooke, the EMA's executive director, said she would take the Covid vaccine "tomorrow" if offered – after debating on its safety for days.
She said: "Its benefits in protecting people from Covid-19, with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation, outweigh the possible risks.
"The committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events, or blood clots."
Mrs Cooke added: "We are very much aware that some member states have paused vaccinations, waiting for EMA's outcome of a review.
"Given that thousands of people in the EU die every day – in fact over 2,500 were reported one day last week – it really was crucial for EMA to review rapidly and thoroughly all the available evidence, so we made this review our highest priority.
"We are delivering on that promise today and our responsibility is to come to a conclusion as to whether the benefits outweigh the risks of the vaccines so that countries can make an uniformed decision and increase trust int eh vaccine."
She said the EMA recommends the jab for use – but a link between a small number of "blood clotting disorders" and the vaccine can't be entirely ruled out, so it must be added to warning labels.
Although some EU countries have reversed the jab suspension, Sweden has vowed to keep its ban in place until next week.
It comes as a new study suggests the vaccines from Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech may be more effective against the P1 Brazil variant of coronavirus than previously thought.
Research from Oxford University, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, measured the level of antibodies that can neutralise – or stop infection from – variants that are circulating in South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere.
It found that vaccines do not work as well against the variants as against the original strain of coronavirus, but that the P1 Brazilian variant may be less resistant to vaccine-induced antibodies than first feared.
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