Last month, the French President claimed the Oxford vaccine was “quasi-ineffective” on people over the age of 65 and hit out at the UK’s decision to increase the interval between doses beyond 28 days. On the same day as those unfounded comments, Mr Macron was humiliated after European regulators approved the use of the vaccine.
Since then, a leading study found the vaccine has a 76 percent efficacy against infections three months after the single dose, and another extensive trial found the jab reduced the risk of hospitalisation by 94 percent.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser, said it is “clear that AstraZeneca works and it works in older people”.
Political commentator Douglas Murray branded Mr Macron’s previous comments about the vaccine as “dangerous” and hit out at the French leader for not issuing an apology.
The British author added his remarks came amid a wave of vaccine scepticism in France and highlighted a poll that suggested just 40 percent of people would take the jab.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Murray said: “President Macron reigns over a country which has no shortage of anti-vax sentiment.
“According to an Ipsos survey carried out in December, just 40 per cent of the French public said that they would agree to get vaccinated against Covid if a jab became available.
“So Macron’s remarks about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine last month were not just an oddity – they were dangerous.
“On the same day that the European Medicines Agency approved the Oxford vaccine for all age groups the French President claimed suddenly that it seemed to be ‘quasi-ineffective’ for people over 65.
“There is no evidence that this is the case, and who knows what propelled Macron to say this: hubris, ignorance or simple nationalistic pride and posturing? In the weeks since any kind of row-back from Macron has been resisted.”
On Thursday, Mr Macron made a major U-turn and admitted he would be inoculated by the Oxford vaccine.
Mr Murray added: “This week he gallantly said that he would have the Oxford vaccine himself, but for his wild claims about the jab he has never apologised.”
He said: “In view of the latest scientific studies, the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been proven.
“My turn will come, but I’ve got time.
“If that’s the vaccine that’s offered to me, I will take it, of course.”