Ian Payne 4am - 7am
James O'Brien's take on what's really happening with the AstraZeneca vaccine
17 March 2021, 15:23
Listeners in Europe loved James O'Brien's explanation of what’s really happening with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
James was responding to France and Germany suspending use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine amid concerns over side effects.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Federal Ministry of Health have both said suspending use of the vaccine is a precaution.
Meanwhile, World Health Organisation has said there is no link between the Astrazeneca vaccine and blood clots.
Speaking of Germany's decision, James said its government was "abiding by rules and regulations that are much higher than our own...in the context of the fear of legal action".
He then said: "But even as you read into the small print of it, it's unfortunate because this tiny increased risk of a certain type of blood clot...doesn't even belong on the same page as the risk posed by not rolling out the vaccine as quickly and as widely as possible.
"But if someone who did die of a blood clot demonstrated that it had been linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine then the [German] government would be sued and that's why [it has] done what it has done."
Speaking of France's decision, James argued that he thinks Emmanuel] Macron was "a bit of a muppet" in his approach to the AstraZeneca vaccine and "was politically motivated in the early days".
James said: "France's failure with vaccines is politically very damaging to him and he, as ever, has Marine Le Pen snapping at his heels in looming presidential contests.
He added: "He did try to turn the vaccine into a nationalism issue by [putting down] the AstraZeneca vaccine."
James went on to say: "So Emmanuel Macron rendered the AstraZeneca vaccine suspicious.
"[This] means that any statistics or any suggestions [or] any science that then comes forward which casts genuine, albeit negligible, doubt on the AstraZeneca vaccine, the population responds to [it] in a very different way from how it would respond if Macron had kept his trap shut.
"So there's another argument that says this is actually a suspension of administering the AstraZeneca vaccine designed to increase public confidence in [it] because Emmanuel Macron had already undermined it for completely spurious and entirely political reasons."