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Germans are turning down Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine (thetimes.co.uk)
44 points by doener 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 94 comments


TIL British slang for injection is ‘jab’. I like this actually, sounds more jovial than getting a ‘shot’.

My father briefly worked in the U.K. in the 80’s and claims that British nurses would say ‘you’ll feel a small prick’ just as they were about to insert the needle.

I’m not sure if it’s true but it has always made me chuckle.

Totally true. They now replaced it with “sharp scratch”, quite a good description but lacks oomph for sure.

It's not uncommon in the US either. Jab, poke, and stab are all used as euphemisms for an injection in my experience.

To me it’s a synonym to shot or injection. It doesn’t seem particularly a Britishism. Perhaps they don’t use shot as much?

Instead of making the vaccination desirable, politicians in German spent a lot of time assuring people there would be no mandatory vaccinations. But if you have to entertain the thought of making it mandatory and if you calm people by saying it will not be, you imply that there is something bad about it.

They should have emphasized that they are making sure everybody can get it and that it is the norm to get it, like with a measles vaccination. I also think there should be a "yes I am vaccinated" campaign, and they should give away a certain amount of doses in a lottery. The vaccination is not something to fear, but to be excited about. I think the current strategy is a psychological fail.


Not sure why you got down-voted. Yes, the government PR somehow completely failed on the vaccination part. But then, this is really in line with most of it's actions over the last 12 months. Seeing how the current "lockdown" turns out, it's a miracle we got it right in March 2020.

For me, what I find even worse than the vaccination PR disaster is the seemingly total lack of efficiency on the public health front. Reports from the field still are delayed 3-4 days. That's stuff that could have been fixed with appropriate software within a couple of months. Also there still seems to be no concerted effort to collect a statistically sound random sample to learn about the real infection rates.

Did Germany "get it right" in March? To my eye it looks like it just missed the first wave by chance along with many other countries (Germany is not unique in Europe in having not really experienced a first wave). As we now know lockdowns don't work and have no impact, same for masks, there's no real explanation for Germany's "slow start" beyond random variation.


> that there is no real justification for the vaccine

The only ways hospitals don't get overrun with COVID patients are lockdown measures or the vaccine. We only have so much capacity to treat COVID cases and every preventable COVID case takes away capacity from treating a less preventable illness.

> is everyone on HN of the opinion that the vaccines are perfectly safe when in fact

Yeah, we all get to hear that same immensely ignorant line from every antivaxxer ever but I have yet to hear about that vaccine that has killed (or greatly accelerated the death) of 2.5 million people in 1 year. The internet isn't perfectly safe either, someone could be infecting your computer with malware and lead to unimaginable damage to your life and livelihood as we speak but you still connected every moment of the day.

Yeah, we all get to hear that same immensely ignorant line from every antivaxxer ever but I have yet to hear about that vaccine that has killed

Since when has suggesting caution implied being an "anti-vaxxer"? These are the kind of labels being bandied about that makes people wary of the whole affair.

As for hospitals being overrun, it is mostly down bad environments in old peoples homes and the hospitals themselves. The homes and the government had about a year to reorganize practices in homes and hospitals to reduce the rate of infection and nothing was done about this.

Vaccines are not a substitute for healthy living environments.

The simple truth is the next time a new virus emerges it will be back to the same lockdown because vaccines where used as a substitute for hygienic behaviour. It is the same mindset that results in farm animals being raised in crowded environments in the belief that antibiotics can be used to treat them, and the same mindset is being applied to human beings.

> Since when has suggesting caution implied being an "anti-vaxxer"?

I called your rhetoric as being the exact same thing antivaxxers also constantly peddle in support of a case they simply cannot make with any real evidence. The "irrational fear" argument. "I have nothing to show it's bad but it could be so that makes it bad".

> Vaccines are not a substitute for healthy living environments.

A non-sequitur, and they're also not intended to be. Healthy living environments are not a substitute for vaccines. Medicine is not a substitute for prevention yet you still go to doctors and take drugs. You don't take a vaccine because it now allows you to live in a garbage dump sucking on a doorknob a COVID patent just sneezed on. You take the vaccine because there is no perfectly healthy living environment, as over a hundred million confirmed COVID infections stand to attest, and the vaccine will help you stay healthy enough. This means you either don't develop the illness at all, or you do but it's a very light form that doesn't need to take away precious hospital resources, or at the very least you don't die from it.

> the next time a new virus emerges

So you are avoiding a solid measure now because it's not guaranteed to work perfectly forever and ever. Coincidentally this is another pillar of the antivaxxer rhetoric. Does the seat belt not save lives because if you're hit by a train you die anyway?

You had several attempts to make an argument and you just jumped from fallacy to fallacy trying to distract from the fact that your rhetoric crumbles just by looking at it the wrong way. Based on your comments you're clearly not qualified to debate this topic. It's your choice whether you get the vaccine or not. But whether it's good for the population is certainly not up for debate, it's already proven and has been for generations.

there is no real justification for the vaccine

The vaccines are the only way we’ll be able to sustainably relax the restrictions we’ve faced for the past year.

There is no such thing as perfectly safe, but faced with SARS-CoV-2 or a vaccine, I’ll take the vaccine every time. It’s not even a close contest; it’s like comparing the risks of BASE jumping to walking down the stairs.

The vaccines are the only way we’ll be able to sustainably relax the restrictions we’ve faced for the past year.

This only vindicates my point. The vaccine is being promoted as a means for ending the lockdowns.

People are being morally and socially pressured into taking it in the hope that the lockdowns will be lifted.

It’s being promoted as a means to end the restrictions because it’s the only plausible mechanism by which we can do so. The alternatives are all pretty terrible, involving restrictions, disability, hardship, and death on a societal scale.

All of life the is the management of risk; the plan is to take the abnormally high risks of the virus and turn them into the very low risks from the vaccines. No regulatory body would ever approve SARS-CoV-2 for human use in this context, because of its appalling side effects and high risk of mortality.

Nobody in the west is being forced to take a vaccine, it must be a personal choice. It cannot be a free choice though, because people are mortal and they live in a society that has been transformed by a pandemic. The choice people make has consequences, and it’s right that we discuss them.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is not just some random act being promoted by people who are keen on needles. It’s literally plans A, B, and C for returning civic life to something resembling normality in a short period of time.

None of that is true. The modelling that predicted "death on a societal scale" has all been disproven long ago. If lockdowns ended tomorrow nothing would happen; they correlated with nothing at all. See most post here for links:


Or this post on what happened in Sweden (answer: normal levels of death, COVID not visible when correcting for the impact of 2019):


Ending lockdowns requires people understand the true severity of the situation, which is not "no severity" but is also not anywhere near the severity that was predicted. Vaccines won't help: coronaviruses have historically not been solvable with vaccines because they mutate too fast. The constant dramas over whether they work against new variants is indicative of what might be the equilibrium state of the vaccine strategy.

It is absurd and wrong that this was flagged and dead, so I vouched for it. If people are not allowed to even ask genuine questions about the safety of medical treatments then it will end up with people automatically assuming the worst, which appears to be what's happening in Europe. People must be free to discuss the safety of new vaccine technologies, as with any other new technology. The people who flagged this post and tried to hide it are making the situation worse, not better, and should be ashamed.

The straightforward observation that lockdowns have been constantly moving goalposts and economic shutdowns are now being used to get people to take vaccines is also strongly worthy of discussion. The original justifications were poor (given many decisions prior to 2020 that lockdowns should never be used), but at least understandable. Now? Not so much.

> people are not allowed to even ask genuine questions

There was no genuine question, it was begging the answer and leading to a conclusion.

The actual genuine idea OP presented and the one you really vouched form but are trying to put this under a veil of legitimacy is that:

> there is no real justification for the vaccine

A statement that was not only never proven correct but it was actively disproved repeatedly. Is it just me or does this idea still float around only because it's powered by an endless stream of people who are either ignorant, uneducated, or have a hidden interest? Let me know how beguine you feel this question is.

And I'll put an actual genuine question that I hope you'll "vouch" for. What were the odds you'd stumble today across a post that barely made it to the front page yesterday as a blip with barely 40 upvotes and it on #502 as we speak, comment repeatedly as direct or indirect replies in support of user vfclists's comments, and all my replies get downvoted including the one I posted just now, day later? An unlikely set of circumstances for a "legitimate" interest.

I never go through people's posting history and downvote them all, if that's what you're asking. It's a stupid tactic, it happens to me all the time and I wish HN had more advanced software and moderation systems to stop it.

Whether a vaccine is "justified" or not is a complex risk/benefit analysis and not a binary decision that everyone can arrive at automatically. There's an entire field of health economics devoted to asking and answering questions like that.

The post should not be flagged and dead (AGAIN), because it is polite, raising obvious questions, and its only "crime" is to question current popular takes on vaccines, which is not a sufficient reason to try and hide posts from everyone. That's the opposite of intellectual curiousity.

They aren't perfectly safe, they are a lot safer than COVID.

I'm in Hungary and I wish I can get an AstraZeneca vaccine or Moderna or Pfizer. The fact that our government pushing the russian and chinese vaccines so hard is the really worrying thing but the general european news outlets yet to pick that up (on the other hand it's a small country)

Fairly sure there has been some reporting about this here in Germany, but very much in the general small updates bucket of news.

Happens in Czechia and Slovakia too. In Slovakia the russian vaccine is championed by prime minister, despite there is no information at all about the vaccine side effects, efficiency, etc... in short, no certification process at all.

I think EU is in for a rude awakening about the extent of Russian hybrid warfare in these countries and whole Balkans.

Yes it is a part of, the mixing of truth and lies. Russians did not do anything more than this research with 76 subjects. That is very poor basis for introducing any medication. They did not even apply for EMA certification in the EU like all other manufacturers, just posted some 5 year old screenshot "but we applied".


76? I mean have you even looked at the lancet link I've given?

"Between Sept 7 and Nov 24, 2020, 21 977 adults were randomly assigned to the vaccine group (n=16 501) or the placebo group (n=5476)."

Ah the other link. So they can expect no problem with certification, why they don't do it?

The Russian vaccine isn’t certified by the EMA yet, so they can’t really use it in the EU.

The EMA cannot prevent a member state from approving vaccines on their own.

As I know, Sputnik is cheaper and safer than Pfizer, but not as effective (92% vs 96%).

Its a shame, those people don't take their appointments. Vaccination in germany is really slow in general. Removing one vaccine is not goint to make it any faster. There are people below the age of 60 that would happily take the shot, but they can't. It's not their turn yet

That seems more like problem with the reservation system that does not allow to specify which vaccines one accepts, so younger people who would accept AstraZeneca could be scheduled for the shots that are available because other people rejected them.

I mean I can't blame them, it supposedly causes side-effects in 40% of cases, isn't very effective against some mutations, and the population they want to vaccinate doesn't have a huge risk of severe covid to begin with.

Aside from this the politicians really bungled the marketing. First it was claimed it doesn't work in the elderly (which wasn't true, just illiteracy), then they said the younger people will only get this vaccine, not the other ones. It's bound to make people suspicious.

Maybe they should learn from Frederick the Great of Prussia: "Trying a less direct approach to encourage his subjects to begin planting potatoes, Frederick used a bit of reverse psychology: he planted a royal field of potato plants and stationed a heavy guard to protect this field from thieves. Nearby peasants naturally assumed that anything worth guarding was worth stealing, and so snuck into the field and snatched the plants for their home gardens. Of course, this was entirely in line with Frederick's wishes." [1]

[1] https://www.history-magazine.com/potato.html

Source on the 40%?

Quick search yields

> “Between 10% and 15% of those vaccinated may have side-effects from this vaccination, but it is only a feverish state, fevers, nausea and within 12 hours it goes away.”


I only read this this morning:


It's in German, the doctor still recommends getting vaccinated.

Well I got the same from a off-the-shelf hepatitis shot 2 years ago. It is really unfortunate they print it this way because the headline surely will be taken out of context.

How effective are the mRNA vaccines against the new strains/mutations? Do we have hard data on that yet?


They seem to be mostly effective, albeit still giving less of an immune response than would be possible.

Also Curevac is working together with GSK on a multi mutant mRNA vaccine. Since the mRNA approach seems to be flexible it's reasonable to assume this will allow quick adaptations like this.


The vector approach is just as flexible in my understanding.

Whats the main issue Germans have with vaccine? decreased effectiveness? I worry the same thing will happen in the US once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved and is readily available, ie. people refusing that vaccine as its not as effective as the moderna/pfizer vaccines.

> decreased effectiveness?

Yes, because the public conversation about vaccine effectiveness is very simplistic. The first-approved vaccine, the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, was developed in Germany and the development subsidized with >$400mio German government money. Its success got a heap of media attention, owing also to easy access to the BioNTech founders and their human interest potential (the company was founded by Turkish immigrants, Germany's largest ethnic minority).

"95% effective" is the gold standard everyone knows now, and accepting anything less, to people, feels like they will miss out on their only chance to get "the good one". They want to feel safe, not 70% safe. The latter sounds like Russian Roulette - 30% chance to get sick just the same anyway?

The reality of course is different - it's not a binary will get sick/won't get sick, but also a "how sick". My own understanding of the medicine is also limited (I would love if this prompts an insightful comment explaining efficacy!), but AIUI almost anyone would be far safer wrt/ getting seriously sick on AZ than remaining unvaccinated.

But AZ gives 100% no severe cases, no deaths, where BioNTech is at 95%. Isn’t it much better to take the 30% mild to medium case than the 5% you might die regardless?

Not really sure where you're getting this data, but in reality both Oxford/AZ and Pfizer/BioNTech will provide extremely high effectiveness at reducing severe illness. It probably won't work out to be literally 100%, but pretty close.

It’s from the official studies they did. Pfizer was 95% effective, with some severe cases. AZ and Moderna had 0 severe cases, hence the 100%.

- Decreased efficiency

- Even less efficiency with mutant viruses that of course will spread as widely as the first one did, it's just a matter of time.

- Reportedly more frequent side effects.

This is all of course tentative and based on the latest media reports, the public opinion might change in the future as there is more data - but that's what we've got now. Also the German government reserves Pfizer to the most vulnerable groups which creates an impression that AZ vaccine is somewhat flawed in comparison to Pfizer.

Isn't it less risk to take a partially effective vaccine though rather than to go without one? What's the risk calculation that would compel someone to not take any vaccine?

Given choice though people will go for what they consider more efficient. So they'd rather wait it out until more vaccines from other pharma are available. This is because if they take the AZ option and turns out to be insufficient there's no guarantee they'll get another chance to get vaccinated.

The main issue seems to be that it is British. There is a strong anti-British sentiment in NL as well since Brexit.

"Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."


I believe that post was a neutral reporting of the actual situation, or at least the user's perceived take on it, and not an attempt to introduce flamebait. It certainly isn't an unrelated controversy. The EU/UK disputes over vaccine development and manufacturing has been well covered in many forums: it even led to an abortive attempt to create a hard border in Northern Ireland by the Commisssion, an extraordinary geopolitical development! Relationships between the UK and EU have perhaps never been worse, and the AstraZeneca vaccine is a part of that.

In addition the pro-EU/German press have been telling people for years that the UK will wither outside the EU and even that there would be medicine shortages in the UK. Now immediately after leaving, the UK is drastically ahead in its vaccination programme. Some European politicians reacted to the UK buying up the supplies in advance by spuriously claiming that the vaccine doesn't work. As a consequence there's now quite some shock in German society about this state of affairs.


I think that's a fair point. Some of these judgment calls can go either way.

One important thing, though, is that the amount of information in a comment makes a huge difference. Information (that is, new information that people haven't already heard many times) acts as flame retardant. If the GP comment had contained that, I wouldn't have posted a moderation reply.

By contrast, when a comment brings up an inflammatory topic in a one-liner sort of way, it leaves a lot more scope for people to project their own interpretation onto the comment, and what drives such projections are often their own strong feelings about the divisive topic. You can see this in the flamewar direction the thread took here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26229255.

The main thing to consider in terms of comment quality is the expected value of its future subthread. Having more information in the root comment increases this. Low-information comments about inflammatory topics have low expected value. https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&sor...

Fair enough then.

but all this has nothing to do with if people want the vaccine or not, if it is available.

> The main issue seems to be that it is British.

I don't think that plays much if any role in German public perception. There is no negative association with the British there.

I don't think that's the main issue. I think it's that the general assumption is that Moderna vaccine is about 90% effective and AstraZeneca about 60% effective.

I don't know how well you can actually compare these 2 numbers and if those are even the most important numbers, but that's part of the problem: Most people only look at these numbers and that's why they would prefer the Moderna vaccine.


The EU is fairly popular among young brits - thankfully we've been "saved" from it by people who will be long dead by the time it hurts.

Don't worry, England and Wales will probably rejoin it in 10 or so years (in some capacity). NI never left and Scotland will be back in within 5.

there is a 30pt difference in effectiveness is the actual reason. Any rational person would prefer an mRNA vaccine to the Oxford one.

Given the option, sure. But, that option doesn't exist today due to limited availability of all vaccines.

The option is really 70% (AZ) vs 0% (nothing) vs ??? (unknown chance of mRNA jab in the near future). Any rational person would prefer 70% today.

And that's completely ignoring the severity. As far as I've been able to tell, all the current vaccines provide near 100% protection from severe cases of COVID.

> Any rational person would prefer an mRNA vaccine to the Oxford one.

HN is meant to be a space for discussion but with no disrespect this is the most infuriating statement I read all day. First off you are basing yourself on bad info [0]

Even still if your fears were true, any rationale person under 85 years old would still take a 70% protection now (which by the way is untrue) [0] that you can distribute over a large section of the population over a >90% protection for a vaccine that we might be able to role in large quantities by summer time. Even if a vaccine gave you a 60% protection as long as you can massively vaccinate fast it would be extremely effective.

[0] https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n414

Yes, if you are not given a choice 70% (or whatever - the efficiency question is not something I'm going to comment on) is better than 0%. However in the unlikely event that you get a choice 95% is greater than 70%.

As an example, the Netherlands has a population of 17 million people (a fraction of which will be children that may not qualify for vaccination), and has so far only only used the Pfizer vaccine, they have vacinated a whooping total 154,445 healthcare workers and essential services staff.

Everybody is massively overlooking the logistics of the -60 Celsius freezing and the short hours of vaccine viability after thawing the pfizer vaccine from deep freeze.

Your scenario is not a valid discussion point in the real world.

The most important aspect is to get as many people vaccinated as fast as possible with anything safe that can protect us at a rate higher than our own immune system. For anyone not immunosuppresed, decelerating community spread is far more important than whatever individual benefit you are atributing to the efficacy statistics.

I don't know if your fury has made you disingenuous or if that was pre-existing, but I'm basing my info from the reported efficacy rates, 63% versus 92% [1, 2]. I don't know where you got the 70% and 90% figures from or exactly what you mean.

I didn't mention any other factors one would weigh in such a decision, but a rational person would indeed take those into account, as you mention.

But outside of those factors, and any others you could think up, it would be irrational not to prefer the more effective product.

Most people (like me) are not going to get any vaccine for months, and have not had any vaccine for a year since the start of the pandemic. We've been taking precautions, as have other people, such as wearing masks and social distancing. But as the vaccines roll out and become widespread and time passes, those measures will fall away or be reduced and mostly you'll be left with the vaccine for protection.

Given that it's not hard to argue for preferring the mRNA shots.

[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/the-oxf...

[2] https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/the-mod...

True. The most intolerable thing about this situation is that it makes BoJo look good.

Nobody talks about it being British.

The problem is that a major newspaper misunderstood the efficacy statistics, and now you've got many, many people who believe AZ has barely an effect.

Obviously this is a hugely popular opinion with the "Querdenker" who are a loose mishmash of covid deniers and "I want my kid to go to school, let those old people die".

It's strange there is such an abundance of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Isn't it the one they were only supplying 40% of what they were contractually supposed to?

The situation seems to be quite dramatic. I applied for a vaccination today in a major German city and got an appointment for Wednesday! Just like my colleagues but the issues seems not to be Astra alone since we all get Biontech and you can see what you get before you finish the process applying for a time slot.

Germans are turning down AZD-1222 because they were fed a pack of lies. People will die as a result. https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n414

Edited to add: in circumstances such as these, journalists have a solemn duty to get the story right. They need to be educated in science and proficient in science communication. A retraction later is not good enough; silently updating your story without retraction is tantamount to corporate manslaughter in my opinion. As we know from battling online disinformation, people will still be quoting from the original baseless story decades from now.

Get it right or GTFO.

I still haven't seen enough data to prove that it's effective in old people, so these are not lies.

Moderna made sure that enough old people were included in their trials, even if they lost some time with it.

Pfitzer/BioNTech proved itself by vaccinating old people in Israel, so they clearly have enough data.

They told people that they did have enough data, and that it was only “8% effective” in people over 65, which was 100% bullshit.

Preprint data on hospital admissions seems pretty encouraging for AZD-1222: https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n523

It looks great, but as it's from today, I understand that people couldn't have known about it.

I'll look at the details, as I have to advise my parents about which vaccine to accept, which is a very difficult decision for me.

My mom is a teacher a few years under 60. She got a chance for AZ vaccine. Initially she declined because the vaccine was not approved in our country for people over 60. However, we decided it's better to take this vaccine now, even if it's inferior than to risk her getting covid unvaccinated. The alternative would be to wait a few months for the next vaccination phase for people with chronic illness (she has diabetes) - although it may very well be she would get AZ then anyway.

I understand, it’s not an easy thing to have that responsibility. Everyone wants to do the best for their family. There is no silver bullet, it’s not possible to have total foresight. I guess all you can do is get all the reputable information you can and weigh it against what you know about their personal circumstances. Best of luck to you and your parents.


Right now they don't trust the Chinese/Russian vaccines, only vaccines approved by the EU, and I also prefer them to wait a few more months in their apartments.

The problem is that once they accept a vaccine, they can't get another type, as only one type of vaccine is allowed per person because of the current vaccine shortage in the world.

I'm on the same boat with one of my parents going to get vaccinated tomorrow but without knowing which vaccine before going to the vaccination center. I still think its safer to get the vaccine anyway since the side effects are mild and only last for 24 hours. Even if it doesn't give a very high percentage of protection it at least makes it less likely to result into need of hospital or worse. Shortages will eventually be overcome and new versions for the new viral variants will be out anyway in the meantime I believe its best to improve our loved ones quality of life. I assume we'll all be still taking precautions for a long time even after we all get vaccinated. It's similar to wearing a mask then, decreases the chances of getting sick but it's not 100%

Wasn’t it the old ‘absence of evidence =\= evidence of absence’ that should have applied?

There is no reason that response to a vaccine would fall off a cliff above a certain numerical age – the human body just doesn’t work like that. Yes, as people get older their immune responses to vaccines may weaken – but this will be unpredictable in a large group, and likely dependent on far more factors than just chronological age.

If by chance the study hadn’t recruited anybody who was 51 years old, would you have felt uncomfortable extrapolating responses from 50 and 52-year-olds?

I don't want to play with my parents' life, as I love them, so no. They are locked up in their apartments for 6 months now, as I don't allow them out. Taking a suboptimal vaccine would hurt more than not having a vaccine, as they will need to start leaving their apartment in the summer, so they rather wait a few months more for the best vaccine (or more data) than have a risk of dying from COVID.

I bought them big screen TV, new furniture and elliptic machine so they can spend their time in the apartment while still working out.

You have to also consider the effects of isolation and lockdown as well especially on the elderly. Obviously risk of death is worse with a bad vaccine but with more people taking the AZ vaccine we'll soon know if its effective and if it is, they will be able to leave their home sooner than waiting out for another vaccine.

UK clearly has enough Data on AstraZeneca in "old people" by now and AstraZeneca will most certainly be cleared for 65+ any day now.


This is simply not true as stated. Further, BioNTech/Pfizer has also show to have reduced efficacy.

The study that all these "simplified" horror-stories in the press are based upon is not giving the full picture.

- The timing cannot show how good the effects possibly are (we know that vector-vaccines take longer to create a sufficient protection) - The sample is tiny - It only talks about mild and semi-severe cases. Nothing in the study about severe cases (there were none in both groups)

AstraZeneca has a huge PR-Problem. Since they were running this in cooperation with research (Oxford), a lot of smaller results were published early, which was taken up by the press out-of-context, simplified further and further when going down the ladder to the boulevard-press.

Further, Germany had at least one politician state ridiculous numbers (8% efficacy above age 65 or 75) since he misunderstood something (only 8% of the participants were in this group) and simply had no idea what he was talking about.

And now it is too late, you can't kill these false-hoods once they circle.

Actually AstraZeneca has some nice properties the mRNA vaccines have not, e.g. etter T-Cell response.

"By the fourth week after receiving the initial dose, the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines had reduced the risk of hospital admissions from Covid-19 by up to 85% and 94% respectively, according to a study by Scottish universities and Public Health Scotland."


I thought the most important question of the vaccine is how effective are they on preventing severe infection. I believe all vaccines managed to achieve 100% on preventing severe infection/death.

Frankly, I'm surprised the opposite isn't the case, given the technical novelty of the mRNA vaccines. Anyone who says mRNA vaccines are proven technology is being dishonest. They're very promising and I truly hope they succeed but we are running a massive public health trial and I doubt anyone will be surprised if we encounter some unpleasant side effects at scale, whether from the vaccines themselves or as a consequence of administering a new drug protocol at massive scale. I'll happily take less effectiveness for less risk. Germans must enjoy living on the edge.

The EU has handled the COVID situation very poorly from the get go and the thrashing of AstraZeneca was shameful. The 'closing' of the Irish border was outright dangerous.

I am surprised the Germans are so much influenced by the misinformation campaign from the European commission.

It's a big leap from "the commission made bad mistakes around the AZ deliveries" (and is widely being called out for it) to "the commission is running misinformation campaigns telling people AZ is not good enough" (and somehow nobody notices or cares).

What are you talking about? The EU did not "thrash AstraZeneca". The "closing" of the Irish border is a result of Brexit, you know the thing UK voters voted on.

The EU invoked Article 16 of the Northern Irish Protocol which is a temporary emergency closure of the NI border.

It was highly reckless given the sensitivity of NI politics.

I have no ill will towards the EU, but they messed up badly with that one.

They did a stupid mistake and courses corrected within 24h (Froday-Saturday). And it was not a border closure but rather border checks/controls on vaccine exports. Very far from a border closure but of course the British papers blew it up. Shouldn't have happened but really not a big deal and was never a problem in practice.

Shouldn't have happened but really not a big deal and was never a problem in practice.

You obviously don't have much experience of NI politics.

There are plenty who are just waiting for the opportunity to make it a big deal of it. In fact, this is exactly happening at the moment, with a very hard Unionist party (TUV) making significant gains at the expense of moderates, using it as collateral.

It is why the Irish PM was one of the first to contact von der Leyen about it. No British involvement there. The Irish know all too well what happens when you kick the wasps' nest.

> The EU did not "thrash AstraZeneca".

Sure they did, they publicly try to shame them on not delivering on their contract. Turns out the commission has a hard time negotiotating and understanding contracts.

> The "closing" of the Irish border is a result of Brexit, you know the thing UK voters voted on.

The EU tried to close the border to Northern-Ireland to try and prevent allegedly export of vaccines.

Almost everybody agreed it was an irresponsible act, cleary lacking any diplomatical tact and sense of history. At least that was turned around quickly.

All in all quite a shameful episode. At least we can vote for the parliament.

Yeah your voting brought you in this ridiculous position in the first place. Good job :D

I haven't voted on Brexit, I am not British and am in mainland EU.

What is your point?

In New York City they are much more concerned with revoking Trump’s ice skating rink concession then getting people vaccinated. Either people can’t figure out how to schedule an appointment (each site has its own system) or they don’t show up. Walk-ins are turned away. So you’ll have a crew of people set up to vaccinate thousands and five people will get their shot.

I have a suspicion they are trying to make the vaccine desirable by making it faux scarce - Tom Hanks get it, crooked CEO gets it, but you little people don’t get it yet. I’m not falling for it.

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