An attempt by Germany’s health minister to promote the Vaxzevria vaccine (AstraZeneca) – which he is ineligible for due to his younger age – was undermined by a fellow cabinet member who flat-out refused to take the jab.
Health Minister Jens Spahn tried this week to encourage elderly Germans to get vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19. Unlike some others, he could not lead by example, since the formula is currently reserved for people aged over 60. At 40, Spahn is not eligible, but said he will be ready for his shot “when it’s my turn.”
Earlier this week, Germany’s Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommended that, as a general rule, the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be offered to people over 60 and even those in the younger population who received the first dose of the vaccine should get a different product as a booster. The recommendation was due to rare cases of thrombosis that a handful of younger recipients of the jab developed. Younger Germans may be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca formula, if a doctor recommends it.
When Spahn encouraged fellow cabinet members to take the vaccine, at least one of them not only rejected it, but did so in a very public way. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, 71, made his feelings about the vaccine clear when speaking to the tabloid Bild.
The answer to Jens Spahn’s request is: No! I will not be patronized.
He said his problem was about not liking to be bossed around, and refrained from giving his evaluation of the controversial medicine.
The vaccine, which has recently been renamed “Vaxzevria”, has been struggling to salvage its image, after concerns over a possibility that it could cause blood-clotting, prompted many European nations last month to halt its deployment. The German vaccine regulator reported this week that it recorded over 30 cases of rare and sometimes deadly cerebral sinus vein thrombosis (CSVT) – a condition in which clots prevent outflow of blood from the brain.
Despite the concerns, some German politicians are willing to follow Spahn’s advice. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, 65, received his first jab of Vaxzevria on Thursday, saying he had trust in the national health authorities.
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