France to Resume Astra Shots After Regulator Gives Verdict

France will resume using AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid 19 vaccine shot after the European Union’s drug regulator said it’s probably safe.

France was one of several EU countries that had suspended the vaccine amid a health scare linked to blood clotting.

The government had signaled it was ready to quickly resume vaccinations with the Astra shot once it got a positive EMA assessment, and Prime Minister Jean Castex pledged to get the jab to help restore public confidence. According to a recent Elabe poll for BFM, only 20% of French trust the vaccine, compared with 52% for the shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Italy said it will also resume the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

The latest crisis added to the hurdles that have hit inoculation campaigns in France and across the EU. France’s rollout started at the end of December, focusing first on the elderly and most vulnerable, and its pace so far is less than a third of that seen in the U.S. and the U.K.

The Astra suspensions over possible side effects also came as governments were dealing with a fresh rise in coronavirus cases. Italy has already imposed a new clampdown on activity, and France announced new restrictions on Paris on Thursday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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