Anorak News | AstraZeneca vaccine banned as Precautionary Principle costs EU lives

AstraZeneca vaccine banned as Precautionary Principle costs EU lives

by | 16th, March 2021

At the time of twisting, 11 European countries have temporarily suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine, including Germany, The Netherlands, France, the Irish Republic, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Italy and Spain. These counties are wary of blood clots. About 17 million people in the EU and the UK have received a dose of the vaccine. AZ says there have been fewer than 40 cases of blood clots. But is the risk of blood clot higher than the risk of no vaccine? And how does the AZ vaccine stack up against the alternative vaccines?

AZ says th 5 events of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and 22 events of pulmonary embolism are “much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed Covid-19 vaccines”.

The BBC Nick Triggle ads context:

The key question that has to be asked is whether this is cause or coincidence? Would these clots have happened anyway? The 37 reported cases are below the level you would expect. What is more, there is no strong biological explanation why the vaccine would cause a blood clot. It is why the WHO and the UK say there is no evidence of a link. And the EMA has suggested the vaccine should continue. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the decisions by individual nations to pause their rollouts have baffled experts.

And this is not the first time countries in Europe have exercised caution about the AstraZeneca vaccine. Germany, France and others did not initially recommend use of the vaccine for the over-65s. That has now been reversed, but the impact is still being felt, it seems.

The tabloids make it about the EU. Has it fallen victim to the precautionary principle (or precautionary approach)? Banning when extensive scientific knowledge on a matter is lacking can cause more harm than good. Don’t do it until you can be sure to have included everything in a risk assessment. But what if the evidence isn’t there and you’re waiting for nothing? It’s been a big talking point around the environment:

On 2 February 2000, the European Commission issued a Communication on the precautionary principle, in which it adopted a procedure for the application of this concept, but without giving a detailed definition of it. Paragraph 2 of article 191 of the Lisbon Treaty states that

Union policy on the environment shall aim at a high level of protection taking into account the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Union. It shall be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay

The Union is one thing but the 26 countries in it have their own interpretations. So there’s confusion. And in a pandemic, that’s not all that helpful.

When the win flu pandemics struck in 2009, Nick Cohen outlined the two extreme views:

Just before he died, Kingsley Amis wrote that two dismal groups fought over the use of English: the berks and the wankers. Berks were permissive types who rejected all rules. “Careless, coarse, crass [and] gross … they speak in a slipshod way with dropped ‘Hs’, intruded glottal stops and many mistakes in grammar. Left to them, the English language would die of impurity, like late Latin.” 

By contrast, wankers were authoritarians who wanted to impose every possible restriction on speakers and writers. “Prissy, fussy, priggish [and] prim … they speak in an over-precise way with much pedantic insistence on letters not generally sounded, especially ‘Hs’. Left to them, the language would die of purity, like medieval Latin.”

In France, President Macron talks of a ‘war” on Covid and sits on piles of unused vaccines. President Trump thought it best ignored. You don’t need to pick a side between the wankers and the berks. In too many countries, you’re not even given that option.

Posted: 16th, March 2021 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink