Why older people are increasingly rejecting astrazeneca

Regina F. could have been vaccinated long ago. Back in early April, the 64-year-old Berliner received a call from her Family doctor. He could have vaccinated them two days later in his practice. But the 64-year-old declined, and that, although she very much wants to be vaccinated against Corona. "Just not with Astrazeneca," explained F., which does not want to read its full name in the newspaper.

The Berlin native belongs to the group of people for whom the Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) recommends Astrazeneca without reservations. F. is 64 years old and has no previous illnesses. The serious side effects, such as cerebral vein thrombosis, occur extremely rarely in people over 60, according to official data from the Paul Ehrlich Institute.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) also continues to back Astrazeneca. "The vaccine saves lives," senior Ema data analyst Peter Arlett recently summed up. In addition Astrazeneca particularly effective against the widespread British mutation B1.1.7 its.

Canceled vaccination appointments, stalled vaccine doses

Nevertheless, F. strictly rejects the offer for Astrazeneca. "All the back and forth about this vaccine just made me extremely uneasy," explains the 64-year-old. Even her family doctor can't take away her fear of Astrazeneca. So the Berlin woman has decided to wait. And that is to Biontech or Moderna. "I would rather wait until I receive an mRNA vaccine than be vaccinated with Astrazeneca," concludes the Berlin resident. But the 64-year-old doesn't know how long that will last.

Regina F. is not an isolated case. More and more people in the 60+ age group are refusing their vaccination appointments with Astrazeneca and trying to get a Biontech vaccination with various justifications. Hesse alone reports that at its vaccination centers, up to 50 percent of the Vaccination dates not be perceived with Astrazeneca. In the meantime, many German states, including Bavaria, Saxony and Berlin, have released the vaccine for all age groups – among other things, because vaccine doses of the preparation have repeatedly been left behind.

"Up to 50 percent of those willing to be vaccinated have bedanken to Astrazeneca"

"From my experience, I can say that about 50 percent of people who receive an offer for Astrazeneca have concerns about this vaccine," says Dr. Hans-Michael Muhlenfeld, chairman of the board of the Institute for Continuing Education in Family Medicine in the German Family Physicians' Association. In his view, the vaccine has had a significant Damage to image suffered from, from which the vaccine can recover only with difficulty.

"Rationally, the risk-benefit trade-off is clearly in favor of Astrazeneca," says Muhlenfeld. Nevertheless, the physician advocates taking the concerns of older people who decide against Astrazeneca seriously and being sympathetic to them: "The probability of a serious complication such as cerebral venous thrombosis is very low. The accumulation is nevertheless statistically striking."

Increasing acceptance through conversation

According to the Paul Ehrlich Institute, 63 cases of cerebral/sinus vein thrombosis associated with Astrazeneca have been registered throughout Germany so far in around 4.8 million initial vaccinations. In 55 cases, the age was less than 60 years. Twelve people died as a result, six women and six men.

"People shouldn't be denied their individual choice if they categorically reject Astrazeneca, and as a doctor I have to be able to weigh the risk to my patients," the physician affirms. A transparent and understanding explanation in a face-to-face conversation, he says, could Acceptance for Astrazeneca to at least increase to about 80 percent. "But of course that requires a lot of time," says Muhlenfeld.

Christian Drosten: older people shouldn't be picky now

Christian Drosten, on the other hand, shows less understanding for refused vaccination appointments and choosy seniors, Chief virologist at Berlin's Charite hospital. "Across the country, younger people have been limiting themselves in their lives, with consideration for the elderly. As someone who is older, you shouldn't be picky and delay the vaccination rate by saying: "I don't want to be vaccinated yet," says Drosten in the current episode of the NDR podcast. The virologist fears that such cherry-picking would Vaccination campaign delay significantly.

But is it really? In the end, so many doses from Astrazeneca remain that, in the worst case, they even have to be thrown away? "If someone does not want to accept the vaccination, it is offered to the next person whose turn it is," Muhlenfeld explains. Every family doctor's office would have Patient lists "And there are still enough people who want to be vaccinated with Astrazeneca," the physician affirms. To ensure that no vaccine would be discarded, suitable candidates from subsequent priority groups could also be preferred. "This has to be dealt with pragmatically on the ground," says Muhlenfeld.

For people to be less likely to refuse their vaccination appointments with Astrazeneca, the Trust win back the support of the general population. But how should this work? "Family doctors can't suddenly rehabilitate Astrazeneca," says Muhlenfeld. Rather, the politicians are called upon: "The fact that the Chancellor has had herself vaccinated with Astrazeneca has certainly encouraged many people. But more politicians are needed who actively support this vaccine."

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