France Starts New Lockdowns, AstraZeneca Vaccination Resumes

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Although vaccinations have caused some optimism and relieved some stress regarding COVID, the pandemic is far from over. Europe sees daily developments, lately in the banning of the AstraZeneca vaccine and in new lockdowns across the continent. The European Medicines Agency finally verified the safety of the AstraZeneca shot on a much-awaited report on Thursday. It denied claims of the vaccine causing blood clots and verified that the benefit far outweighs side effect risks. As medical associations confirm that the vaccine is safe, rollouts continue, while France is the latest country to lock down.

While some European countries immediately resumed the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout following the report, others still hesitate. As such, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy, along with most other EU countries, continued distributing the shot. However, Sweden, Denmark, and the non-EU Norway still hesitate. The countries claim they’ll need some more time to review the result of EMA’s report.

The EMA did admit the vaccine had some dangers. Namely, there might be a passing link between the vaccine and thrombocytopenia-related blood clots. However, there is not sufficient proof for such a claim. The EMA claimed it deserved further analysis.

In France, President Macron backtracked on his stance that strict lockdown measures could be avoided. As the COVID situation worsens, the greater Paris region announced that it’d go into lockdown. The Thursday announcement caused a significant amount of dissatisfaction in France. Paris is the third area in the country to need to take such measures. The north’s Pas de Calais and the south’s Riviera regions are the two that had to enter lockdown before Paris.

Although vaccinations have started in Europe, the halt on AstraZeneca has slowed the already somewhat sluggish process. The UK leads the continent with a 40% vaccination rate while the EU’s rate remains at around 12%.

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