In Brief

Trust in Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine collapsing across Europe, poll reveals

More than half of people in France, Germany and Spain believe jab is unsafe

Confidence in the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has plummeted across Europe after a host of European governments suspended its use, a survey has found.

Polling by YouGov found that more than half of respondents in France, Germany and Spain now believe the vaccine to be unsafe – even after all three nations later reversed their decision to stop using the UK-developed vaccine.

In France, 61% of respondents said the vaccine was unsafe, an increase of 18 percentage points from February, while 55% of Germans and 52% of Spanish people felt the same way. Figures collected elsewhere are no more promising, with 43% of Italians saying that they also feel the vaccine is not safe for use.

In the UK, 77% of people said the Oxford vaccine is safe, though confidence has fallen by four points since February.

The survey of more than 8,000 people was conducted between 15 and 18 March, before EU nations resumed the use of the Oxford jab, with YouGov’s lead data journalist, Matt Smith, saying: “The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has undoubtedly suffered damage to its reputation for safety on the continent”, Politico reports.

“Not only have we seen considerable rises in those who consider it unsafe in the last two weeks in Europe, the AstraZeneca vaccine continues to be seen as substantially less safe than its Pfizer and Moderna counterparts.”

The poll comes as a leading member of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine team accused the EU of overseeing a “hopeless” vaccine campaign. John Bell, Oxford University’s regius professor of medicine, told The Telegraph that the EU has “no idea what’s going on”, adding: “They’re hopeless. Completely hopeless. It's really not going well in Europe.”

He added: “Everyone’s got to take a deep breath and realise that we’re not there yet. We’ve got to lean into the global issue much more effectively, and get people vaccinated in the developing world and try to reduce transmissions everywhere.”

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