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the coronavirus crisis

France's confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine is astonishingly low

The public's confidence in AstraZeneca and Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine is down noticeably in Europe and especially in France, a new poll has found — just as a large U.S. trial shows it to be 79 percent effective.

YouGov found in a new poll that in France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, "people are more likely to see the vaccine as unsafe than safe" after the vaccine's use was briefly paused there. This was particularly notable in France, where 61 percent of those surveyed said they think the vaccine is unsafe, up from 43 percent last month. In fact, just 23 percent of respondents in France said they believe the vaccine is safe. YouGov notes that even in February, though, more people in France thought the vaccine was unsafe than thought it was safe.

Meanwhile, 55 percent of respondents in Germany said they think the AstraZeneca vaccine is unsafe, and that number was 52 percent in Spain and 43 percent in Italy.

Use of the AstraZeneca vaccine was briefly paused in Europe amid concerns over whether it could be linked to blood clots, but it has since resumed, as the European Medicines Agency confirmed the vaccine to be safe and effective and found no increased blood clot risk. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson subsequently received a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and encouraged the public to do so as well.

According to YouGov, "only in Britain can the blood clots story be considered to have little to no impact," as the majority there continued to say they believe the vaccine to be safe. But elsewhere, YouGov writes, the decision to pause the vaccine's use in Europe "hugely damaged public perceptions of the vaccine's safety," with lead data journalist Matt Smith saying it has "undoubtedly suffered damage to its reputation for safety on the continent."

YouGov's poll was conducted by speaking to a group of roughly 8,000 people in seven countries from March 12 through March 18, according to Reuters. Read more at YouGov.