JCVI member: EU made 'grave mistake' in delaying AstraZeneca approval

28 February 2021, 13:35

By Seán Hickey

This infectious disease expert declares that EU politicians overstepped the mark by initially banning the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Professor Robert Read is Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Southampton and a member of the JCVI. His revelations came after Tom Swarbrick put the news to him that the EU are set to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine just months after they deemed it unsafe.

"What's your personal view about how that's been handled" Tom wondered.

"I think the EU made a grave mistake. Our politicians don't make scientific judgements of vaccine efficacy and I would expect their politicians to do the same thing – this is a scientific discussion."

The JCVI member went on to say that the political decision was not grounded at all in science: "There's no biological plausibility that a vaccine that works well in a 60 year old would not work in a 70 year old."

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He clarified that the issue was not with EU scientists, as they came to the same conclusions as British scientists. "I think European politicians were wrong, I don't think their regulators said the same thing.

"Their regulators looked at the evidence and gave the same – broadly the same decision that our regulators did."

Tom pushed the infectious disease expert, noting that the EU were "not just wrong, catastrophically wrong. Costing lives wrong."

"Politicians have to listen to the advice of their scientists," Professor Read said, adding that "wherever that is practice, health benefits will accrue."

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