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Despite high-tech advances, many Europeans are wary of taking COVID shots


Warsaw / Sophia (Reuters)-Europe deployed a large COVID-19 vaccination drive on Sunday to curb the coronavirus pandemic, but many Europeans are skeptical of the speed at which the vaccine was tested and approved. And he is reluctant to give an injection.

The European Union has signed more than 2 billion contracts with various pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, and has set a goal of inoculating all adults next year.

However, research has pointed to a high level of hesitation in vaccination in countries from France to Poland, and vaccine development often takes decades as well as months.

“I don’t think there’s a vaccine tested so quickly in history,” said Ireneusz Sikorski, 41, who left a church in central Warsaw with two children.

“I’m not saying that vaccination shouldn’t be done, but I’m not going to test unidentified vaccines in my child or myself.”

So far, less than 40% of people are planning vaccinations, according to a survey in Poland, where distrust of public institutions is deep-rooted. On Sunday, only half of the medical staff at Warsaw Hospital, where the first shot of the country was administered, signed up.

In Spain, one of Europe’s hardest hit countries, a 28-year-old German singer and composer from Tenerife will be waiting for you.

“No one near me has it (COVID-19). I’m not saying it doesn’t exist obviously because so many people have died, but for now I have it (COVID-19) I don’t have a vaccine). “

Bishop of the Christian Orthodox Church in Bulgaria. Comparing COVID-19 with polio, 45% say they don’t fire and 40% will wait for negative side effects.

Healthcare workers applaud Morristo, a 78-year-old French woman, after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in the country at Rene Muret Hospital on the outskirts of Sevran. Did. Paris, France, December 27, 2020.Pool via Thomas Samsung / REUTERS

Bishop Tihon, who stood alongside Sophia’s health minister, told reporters after being shot, “I myself have been vaccinated against everything I can do.”

He talked about his anxiety about polio before vaccination became available in the 1950s and 1960s.

“We were all trembling for fear of getting polio, and we were overjoyed,” he said. “Now we have to persuade people. That’s a shame.”

Great leap forward

Extensive hesitation does not seem to take into account the scientific development of the last few decades.

According to a 2013 study, the traditional method of creating a vaccine (introducing a weakened or dead virus, or part of it, to stimulate the body’s immune system) takes an average of more than 10 years. One pandemic flu vaccine took more than eight years, while the hepatitis B vaccine was manufactured for nearly 18 years.

Moderna vaccines based on so-called messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology moved to the first human injection 63 days after gene sequencing.

“Looking back at the progress made in 2020,’it was a real leap forward in science,” said Jeremy Farah, director of the Welcome-backed Clinical Research Unit at Oxford University. Trust.

Pfizer / BioNTech shots have been deployed in the United Kingdom and the United States and are associated with some cases of severe allergic reactions. In clinical trials, there were no serious long-term side effects.

According to an independent pollster, Alpha Research, a recent study found that less than one in five Bulgarian people in the first group of vaccines were vaccinated (front-line healthcare workers, pharmacists, teachers, nursing home staff) Was planning to vaccinate as a volunteer.

An IPSOS survey of 15 countries released on November 5 showed that 54% of French people would be vaccinated with the COVID vaccine if available. This figure was 64% in Italy and Spain, 79% in the United Kingdom and 87% in China.

IFOP polls after the lack of comparative data from other countries showed that only 41% of people in France were shot.

In Sweden, where public confidence in the authorities is growing, as in other parts of Scandinavia, more than two in three people want to be vaccinated. Still, some people say no.

“If someone gives me 10 million euros, I won’t receive it,” Lisa Lemberg, 32, said Wednesday.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Moravietski urged Poles to apply for vaccination on Sunday, saying herd immunity was dependent on them.

Critics say Warsaw nationalist leaders have accepted too much opposition to vaccination in the past in order to gain conservative support.

Additional reports by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk in Warsaw, Colm Fulton in Stockholm, Phil Blenkinsop in Brussels and Silvio Castellanos in Madrid. Written by Justyna Pawlak; edited by Nick Macfie


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