Camilla backs the Astrazeneca jab: Duchess, 73, gets her coronavirus inoculation and says ‘you take what you are given!’ on visit to vaccination centre with Prince Charles
- Camilla, 73, revealed she received the AstraZeneca vaccine despite EU row
- Duchess of Cornwall said it ‘didn’t matter’ which she received and ‘didn’t ask’
- France, Italy, Spain and Germany suspend the use of the AstraZeneca jab
- Italian politicians came under pressure ‘after Germany and France called a halt’
- EU regulator says no evidence clotting is linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine
The Duchess of Cornwall today revealed she was given the AstraZeneca jab but said ‘it didn’t matter’ to her as she proclaimed: ‘You take what you are given.’
During a visit with Prince Charles, 72, to a pop-up jab centre at Finsbury Park Mosque in London, Camilla, 73, said: ‘I don’t even ask because I hate injections so much that I shut my eyes… whatever comes out.’
It was announced in February that Camilla and Charles had received their vaccine a month after the Queen and Prince Philip received their coronavirus jabs.
However, Buckingham Palace refused to tell MailOnline which vaccine Her Majesty, 94, and the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, had been given.
The duchess previously revealed she ‘leapt for joy’ when receiving her Covid-19 jab, telling patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham: ‘It’s a good thing.
‘It doesn’t hurt. I was waiting for it to be done and they said, ‘It has been done’. It was painless. It was brilliant. It’s very good when it’s over as you feel more secure.’
Her intervention comes amid a raging Anglo-EU row over the AstraZeneca vaccine as panic over blood clot fears sweeps across the European mainland and causes 14 governments to call a halt to the roll-out amid a third wave of cases.
The European Medicines Agency today insisted there is no evidence the vaccine causes dangerous side-effects, and said it was ‘firmly convinced’ that injections with the AstraZeneca shot should continue.
The regulator joins the Government and the World Health Organisation in a full-throated defence of the vaccine amid fury at EU nations including France and Germany for suspending the jabs.
The Duchess of Cornwall today revealed she had been given the AstraZeneca vaccine but revealed ‘it didn’t matter’ to her and she ‘didn’t ask’
During a visit with Prince Charles, 72, to a pop-up jab centre at Finsbury Park Mosque in London, Camilla, 73, said: ‘I don’t even ask because I hate injections so much that I shut my eyes… whatever comes out. You take what you are given’
Regulatory reports show that blood clot diagnoses are about equally likely after either the two jabs being used in the UK and scientists insist the risk is no higher than a random person in the population could expect, meaning the vaccine remains safe
Figures from AstraZeneca and the European Medicines Agency show the number of blood clot-related conditions from 17million doses dished out in the UK and Europe up to March 13
The countries around the world that have stopped using the Oxford jab
Stopped using one batch:
Today, Downing Street again defended the AstraZeneca vaccine and said Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be happy to take it when his turn came to have a jab.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency had been ‘extremely clear that both vaccines are both safe and effective’.
The World Health Organisation has also ‘been clear that the AZ vaccine is both safe and effective, they said there was no reason for concern and distribution of the vaccine should not be suspended’.
Asked if Mr Johnson would be willing to have the AstraZeneca jab, the spokesman said: ‘Yes, he would be perfectly happy to take the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.’
EMA safety experts say a ‘very small number of people’ have come down with blood disorders but there is ‘no indication’ that these were caused by the jab, which 11million people have already had in the UK.
‘We are still firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19 with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death outweigh the risk of these side effects,’ said EMA chief Emer Cooke.
Countries including France will now face pressure to resume AstraZeneca jabs after the EMA delivered its verdict and reiterated that the number of blood clots ‘seems not to be higher than that seen in the general population’.
Italy earlier admitted that its suspension of AstraZeneca jabs was a ‘political’ move while French doctors accused Emmanuel Macron of ‘giving in to panic’ and a German lawmaker said the ban could cause a ‘catastrophe’.
Germany sought to justify its move by saying that one particular kind of blood clot, a ‘sinus vein thrombosis’, had occurred seven times among the 1.6million people vaccinated when only around one case would be expected.
By contrast, only four such cases have been identified in the UK out of 11million doses administered.
Nicola Magrini, the head of Italian medicines regulator AIFA, said politicians had come under pressure to call off the jabs after Germany and France made similar moves in what one Tory MP described as a ‘Brexit sulk’.
‘We got to the point of a suspension because several European countries, including Germany and France, preferred to interrupt vaccinations… to put them on hold in order to carry out checks. The choice is a political one,’ Magrini said in an interview with La Repubblica.
Fourteen European countries including 12 EU members have now suspended their use of the shots altogether – with Sweden joining the list today – while another five have black-listed specific batches and a handful of governments outside Europe have also pulled the emergency brake.
The AstraZeneca jab was already an unloved choice in Europe after top officials lashed out at the firm in a post-Brexit row over supplies and raised unfounded doubts about its effectiveness.
Scientists fear that Europe’s moves could now fuel ‘more extreme anti-vaccine sentiment’ despite findings by the EU, UK, WHO and AstraZeneca that there is no evidence of a link to the sporadic blood clots.
Belgium’s health ministry said it would continue using the jab because it was in a race against time to protect its population.
Extraordinarily, one French minister told Politico that it decided to copy Berlin’s move to avoid ‘stress’ – and at the same time Paris is threatening to sue AstraZeneca for failing to supply enough doses.
Europe is presiding over one of the world’s slowest jabs roll-outs which has left people vulnerable to infection, while the UK has masterminded one of the world’s fastest, with Covid cases and deaths now falling sharply
Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Iceland have suspended their use of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine over blood clot fears despite health bodies saying there is no link and cases trending upwards – threatening more lockdowns
Many EU countries are seeing cases rise again with vaccines still coming too slowly to protect large chunks of the population against sickness and death
What deaths have been linked to the Oxford- AstraZeneca jab – and have they been proven?
So far, more than 11 million doses of the Oxford jab have been administered in the UK alone, with countless more distributed worldwide.
Out of the millions of vaccines already given, fewer than 50 reported blood-related issues post-vaccine, with no confirmed causal link to the jab.
AstraZeneca, the World Health Organization and EU regulators have all rejected the blood clot fears.
But even so, Ireland joined Denmark, Norway and Iceland in temporarily halting all AstraZeneca vaccinations following reports of ‘serious blood clotting events’ in Norway.
Norwegian health authorities of Saturday confirmed that three healthcare workers who had the AstraZeneca jab were being treated in hospital for bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets.
All three individuals in hospital in Norway for conditions including blood clots were under the age of 50. The Government were notified on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency reported one person in Austria was diagnosed with blood clots and died 10 days after vaccination – but it stressed there is ‘currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions’.
A further patient was admitted to hospital in Austria with pulmonary embolism – a blockage in the arteries in the lungs – after being vaccinated, while one death involving a blood clot was reported in Denmark.
A 50-year-old man is also thought to have died in Italy from deep vein thrombosis (DVT), while there has been an unconfirmed report of another death in the country.
Italy also followed Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg and Lithuania in banning jabs from one particular batch of one million AstraZeneca vaccines, which was sent to 17 countries, after reports that a 49-year-old nurse died soon after getting one of the jabs.
On Saturday, US boxer Marvin Hagler, died aged 66, after he reportedly suffered side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine.
What vaccine he received has not been confirmed and the link between his death and a jab has not been proven.
Whitehall sources claimed the suspensions were a ‘cynical attempt to discredit’ AstraZeneca in the wake of the bloc’s row with the Anglo-Swedish drugs firm amid a shambolic rollout.
‘I genuinely don’t know what they are playing at,’ said one insider. ‘There is no data to support what they are doing. They just don’t seem to be able to get over their disputes with AstraZeneca.’
In Britain, Tory and Labour MPs highlighted the assurances given by regulators and experts as they appealed for Britons to ignore ‘fake news’ and accept invitations for jabs. Nearly half the UK population has now had their first dose of either the Oxford or Pfizer vaccine.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was ‘crystal clear’ the vaccine was safe, while Conservative backbencher Anthony Browne said European leaders were driven by ‘politics not science’. ‘The EU’s Brexit sulk will cost EU lives,’ he said.
Among the 17million people across Europe who have received the vaccine there have been 37 reports of blood clots, which experts say is well below the expected level.
Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon leapt to the defence of the jab yesterday, saying it is ‘safe and effective’ and no such side effects have been witnessed in the UK, which has used more doses than anywhere else in the world.
The attempts to quell safety concerns over the jab came after a host of European nations announced they would be pausing their roll-out of the Oxford vaccine.
Swedish chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said it was suspending the jabs as a ‘precautionary measure’.
Portugal, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Slovenia and Bulgaria have also called a halt to the AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Meanwhile, Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Romania have stopped the use of one batch of the jab.
Australian MP Matt Canavan said last night that he wants the country to follow the 17 European nations and stop using the vaccine.
Italian prosecutors on Monday also launched a manslaughter probe after a music teacher died at the weekend just one day after receiving AstraZeneca’s jab. The judiciary in Biella, a city in the north of the nation, opened a preliminary probe into 57-year-old Sandro Tognatti’s death to decide whether there is a case to answer.
Mr Magrini, the Italian medicines regulator said the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe and that the benefit to risk ratio of the jab is ‘widely positive’.
There have been eight deaths and four cases of serious side-effects following vaccinations in Italy, he added.
German health minister Jens Spahn was accused by the opposition of caving in to political pressure by announcing the stoppage on Monday, which another German MP described as a potential ‘catastrophe’.
‘If AstraZeneca were completely dropped, that would be a catastrophe for Germany but also for the EU… there’s no other vaccine that can replace it before the summer,’ said epidemiologist-turned-politician Karl Lauterbach.
Germany has already had problems with public reluctance to take the vaccine, with around 1.3million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine lying unused.
Frank Ulrich Montgomery, a German doctor and council chair of the World Medical Association, warned: ‘The bottom line is that this good and effective vaccine is hardly going to gain higher acceptance as a result of this kerfuffle and the suspension in many countries’.
Spahn said the decision to suspend AstraZeneca shots was taken on the advice of the country’s vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, which called for further investigation into seven cases of clots in the brains of people who had been vaccinated.
In France, a medical union condemned Emmanuel Macron’s move to suspend vaccinations on Monday, accusing him of ‘giving in to panic’ and failing to consult doctors.
The syndicate of private doctors ‘believes that the subject of vaccination and the fight against Covid-19 is too serious to be left in the hands of politicians’, it said.
‘No clear instructions are given to doctors, who find themselves in the greatest embarrassment in the face of patients who are made more sceptical every day by the government’s multiple communication errors’.
Macron said he will suspend shots until later this week, when the EMA could lay out firmer findings.
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