VACCINE centres in France have been closing early leaving hundreds of doses unused as people continue to shun the AstraZeneca jab.
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An empty vaccine centre in Calais, which was forced to close
Emmanuel Macron questioned the safety and effectiveness of the AstraZeneca jabCredit: AFP
Macron, 43, has been blamed for a lack of public faith the AstraZeneca jab, which he falsely called “quasi-ineffective”.
He has performed a series of U-turns, first saying the jab was not suitable for those over 65, then banning it over unfounded blood clot fears, then saying it should not be given to those under 55.
With hundreds failing to turn up for their jab appointments many vaccination centres no choice but to close early.
Natacha Bouchart, mayor of Calais, said 600 doses had been left unused in the town as people held out for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
She said it follows reports a week ago in France of people suffering blood clots and reports of 30 similar cases in Britain at the end of last week
“It’s more than a wave of panic. It’s been going on for a week, and Friday was the final blow,” she said.
“There really has to be a national campaign to explain that this vaccine has no more negative consequences than the one from Pfizer or Moderna.”
Meanwhile, in nearby Gravelines, Dr Thierry Mraovic, one of the directors of a vaccination centre, said 600 doses of AstraZeneca had been returned to the manufacturer.
A man receiving the Pfizer vaccine in FranceCredit: Rex
Vaccinations taking place inside France’s national velodrome in ParisCredit: Alamy
He condemned the policy in France of limiting the use to people over 55 because of a very small risk of blood clots that appear to have affected younger patients.
In the town Valenciennes, to south east of Calais, over 900 doses were left over.
Figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show 4.7 million of the AstraZeneca jab have been bought by France but only 2.3 million given out.
Across Europe millions of doses of the jab remain unused, sitting in warehouses.
Politicians in France have been attempting to repair the damage done by Macron as the country battles a third wave of Covid infections.
Interior minister Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister, said at the weekend work was needed to persuade people AstraZeneca should be considered as safe as the other vaccines.
France is battling a Covid third waveCredit: AFP
“We have to pay attention to the fears of the French,” he said on a visit to the north of the country.
“The challenge at the beginning of the summer will be less to meet demand from people than going out to look for the people who are hesitating. We have to convince them.”
Macron finds himself under increasing pressure as his hard-hit country enters its third national lockdown as far-right rival Marine Le Pen dubbed France’s Covid vaccine chaos his ‘Waterloo’.
French president acknowledged that European leaders did not go “fast enough or strong enough” in the painfully slow Covid jab drive.
But he insisted he has “no remorse, no acknowledgement of failure” despite intense criticism of his leadership in the crisis.
Both France and Germany have begged Vladimir Putin to supply them with the Russian-made vaccine – after Angela Merkel suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab for the under-60s.