The vaccine from the British company AstraZeneca is the drug that Germany had high hopes for early on. Months ago, for example, North Rhine-Westphalia was one of the first federal states to base its nationwide vaccination strategy on the vaccines from Biontech and AstraZeneca.
But then the first reports came that there were irregularities in the studies by AstraZeneca and that the agent was not as effective as hoped, especially in older people over 65. While the European Medicines Agency still released the agent for all age groups, it is only supposed to be in Germany can be used for people under 65. But one way or another: The doubts about the means remain.
And this shows that the countries have so far preferred to leave the drug in storage. Nationwide, around 50,000 of the 736,800 cans delivered to date have been vaccinated since February 7th. That’s not even every tenth dose. And there is no need to be reluctant to do this, as another 1.8 million cans are to be delivered by the end of February.
In Brandenburg the stocks have not even been touched yet. At the request of NewsABC.net, a spokesman assures that the AstraZeneca vaccinations will start on Wednesday. At the beginning of the week there were 500 interested parties – but how many of them have made appointments is open.
From circles of the Federal Ministry of Health it is said that there is great uncertainty among those who want to be vaccinated and doctors as to whether the agent will really work. Vaccination appointments would therefore be “en masse”. A spokeswoman for the Saarland Ministry of Health confirms for her country: “We are aware of cases in which people reject the vaccination offer with AstraZeneca”. The appointments would then be given to other people, because nationwide it is currently not possible to choose which agent to vaccinate with.
The head of a vaccination center in a German metropolis with millions of people also told NewsABC.net that people were reluctant to work with the vaccine due to skepticism about the effect of the drug. Even the authorities are skeptical, so that vaccination invitations have sometimes deliberately not been sent to people under 65, although cans could be vaccinated. Instead, focus on the very old.
But is this skepticism really justified? According to current studies, AstraZeneca has an effectiveness of 70 percent, almost 20 percent less than the means from Moderna and Biontech. The annual flu vaccinations have a similar effectiveness. And: The vaccine is not as effective against the highly contagious South African mutation. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated that there was no evidence that the vaccine did not protect against severe courses of Covid-19.
The reason that the remedy is not used for the very old in Germany is due to the fact that the number of study participants in the group of elderly people was very low and its informative value is therefore questioned. In the meantime, however, new studies have been announced, the results of which are still a long time coming. Then there will certainly be more reliable figures.