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Vaccine hesitancy rises in France after AstraZeneca suspension, survey reveals

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A Red Cross volunteer administers the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to a woman in a vaccination center of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, southwestern France
A Red Cross volunteer administers the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to a woman in a vaccination center of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, southwestern France   -   Copyright  Credit: AP
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Vaccine hesitancy has risen sharply in France since countries across Europe suspended the AstraZeneca jab amid reports it causes blood clots.

Both the European Medical Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it safe and effective in protecting against COVID-19.

Several European countries have resumed using the vaccine, but Norway and Denmark have extended their suspensions while the alleged side effects are probed.

Around 42% of French respondents thought the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab unsafe in a YouGov survey last month.

But following the suspensions, that has now jumped to more than six-in-ten.

France has always been one of the highest vaccine sceptical countries in the world, and a study by Ipsos between December 17-20 found the lowest levels of COVID-19 vaccination intent in France.

Euronews spoke to people in the French city of Lyon to find out what they thought about the safety of the vaccine.

"There is some mixed information about the efficacy and side effects, so I am not really sure. I would prefer to get the Pfizer vaccine," one man said.

"I am afraid of that [AstraZeneca] vaccine," said a woman who is getting the Pfizer vaccine next month.

"Yes, I don't care, I would go for this vaccine," another woman said.

"For my dad, I really wouldn't recommend him this vaccine [AstraZeneca]," a young man said.

"I am not quite keeping in touch with the news, and the pros and cons. My first thought is that as long as I don't have to, I won't," a woman said.