Scientifically safe, but Astrazeneca skeptics remain

Despite multiple scientific studies saying the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca it is safe and effective, some residents in Europe are turning down that particular shot.

They include 60-year-old Nadine Roger who lives in Paris. She’s recovering from breast cancer and is in the high risk category.

She told Reuters “The AstraZeneca (shot) frightens me," and said she’s prepared to wait for an alternative dose, despite wanting to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"The AstraZeneca vaccine requires two doses spaced three months apart. Three months is a very long time, especially after one year of being deprived from going out. So, the vaccine is not yet proven against variants, there's too little data on variants."

According to the most recent data made available by the French health ministry, for the end of February, France was only using about a quarter of its AstraZeneca doses, compared with 82% for vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and 37% for the Moderna shot.

Partly due to logistical bottlenecks, but also because some French people don't trust the AstraZeneca shot because of concerns over side effects.

European regulators have concluded the side-effects cause by the AstraZenaca vaccine are not a cause to doubt its safety. A study in Scotland covering 5.4 million people showed it, and the Pfizer vaccine, were highly effective in preventing severe infections.

Student nurse, Anais Marmol Palacio views any reaction as minor and certainly not worse than getting the virus.

"I got COVID, and I don't want to get it a second time. I'm 18 and I had to go to the emergency room. If I got it a second time, we don't know what can happen. I prefer to have less effects and just have the fever (from AstraZeneca vaccine) than to be on oxygen."

After initial concerns, France, Germany, and Italy have changed tack and are now giving the Astrazeneca vaccine to people over 65.