Macron and Merkel’s Brit jabs doubt blamed for Europe Covid woe

Macron’s ‘dilemma’ in the Sahel discussed my James Shields

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A WHO spokesman said the region was again in the “firm grip of the pandemic” while AZ boss Pascal Soriot suggested the fourth wave could be the result of the EU restricting the UK jab. He pointed out: “Europe initially thought the vaccine doesn’t work in older people.” Britain’s neighbours are recording higher intensive care rates despite having similar case numbers to the UK.

Just 67 million doses of AZ have been distributed across the EU compared to 440 million of Pfizer’s. Studies suggest the Oxford-made jab provides longer protection against severe disease in older people.

In January French leader Emmanuel Macron trashed the vaccine as “quasi-effective” for people over 65 and claimed the UK had rushed its approval, in what some described as Brexit bitterness.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, 67, also seeded doubts among Europeans. Both later performed U-turns and she had the jab herself.

Now the latest EU figures show deaths due to Covid have hit nearly 4,200 a day, double the number at the end of September.

The number of lives claimed by the virus passed the 1.5 million mark for the 53 countries in the region, becoming its No 1 cause of death.

World health chiefs projected the figure to top 2.2 million by the spring.

The spread of the Delta variant across the continent continues to cause rising alarm. Germany has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe, with only 68 percent of people fully vaccinated. Yet its infection rate is at its highest on record and among the worst in the world.

Tighter restrictions are to be brought in which will see the unvaccinated excluded from certain venues, and some of Germany’s famed Christmas markets have been cancelled.

There has been growing unrest at new measures in Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria, which is now in full lockdown.

Eastern European countries have been experiencing some of the highest death tolls in the world, with hospitals overrun in Bulgaria and Romania.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia are to ban the unjabbed from some shops and services, including pubs.

The European Commission is expected to announce tomorrow that Covid passports will expire early next year without the evidence of a traveller having had a booster dose.

The move would mean Britons wanting to head for Europe for holidays would need proof of all three jabs.

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