After Frank Montgomery's criticism of AstraZeneca, German doctors go after World Medical Association board with angry letter

  • Physicians’ officials have written an angry letter to the World Medical Association, accusing its CEO Frank Ulrich Montgomery of self-promotion and indirectly damaging behavior.
  • The background is Montgomery’s critical statements about AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Due to the lower effectiveness of 70 percent, medical personnel and nursing staff should rather receive a different vaccine. Within the medical profession, there are already calls for Montgomery to be stripped of his honorary presidency of the Medical Association because of the statements.
  • SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach now wants to set a good example and have himself vaccinated with AstraZeneca medication next week.
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It is currently the dominant topic in Germany: How should one deal with the vaccine of the company AstraZeneca? As a reminder, the drug is almost 20 percent less effective than the Biotech and Moderna remedies, with 70 percent in the studies. Based on the studies, the drug may also not be used in Germany for older people over 65.

Consequently, there is a great deal of public reluctance to take AstraZeneca. Vaccination appointments are canceled en masse, and hundreds of thousands of AstraZeneca doses have been sitting untouched in the warehouses of the German states for almost two weeks. The skepticism was further fueled on Tuesday by the German chairman of the board of the World Medical Association and former long-time president and current honorary president of the German Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery. Medical staff and nurses should not be vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s less effective vaccine because of the high risk of infection, he said.

The statements caused a storm of indignation behind the scenes in the medical profession. Internally, disgruntled physicians speak only of “Mr. M.”; even Montgomery’s honorary presidency is being called into question.

Montgomery a self-promoter

According to research by Business Insider, in a letter to World Medical Association President David Barbe, Germany’s leading association of medical specialists also accuses Montgomery of being a self-promoter and of interfering negatively in national affairs – unusually strong words for the medical profession. For example, he said, Montgomery’s statements about AstraZeneca were unacceptable. “Anyone who, for reasons of self-promotion, casts doubt on the efficacy and benefits of this vaccine and advises against vaccinating medical personnel with it sends – we believe – a fatal signal to our medical colleagues in the developing world, who are thus left unprotected in their fight against Covid-19.”

The letter also unmistakably signals that Montgomery is not up to his tasks in the World Medical Association in the opinion of the association. “Unfortunately, Professor Frank Ulrich Montgomery, using every available opportunity of public appearances in Germany (…) does not show that he intends with his statements to do justice to the responsibility assigned to him with his function in the World Medical Association for all physicians in the world.”

In the meantime, it continues, Mongomery’s statements are “no longer perceived with the necessary seriousness,” even in German politics, so that the reputation of the World Medical Association is suffering. One demands therefore in the future “expressly” a measure of restraint.

SPD expert Lauterbach deliberately wants to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca

But what is really behind the criticism of the AstraZeneca vaccine? In fact, the efficacy is lower than that of the Biotech and Moderna products, which also work according to a completely different procedure. However, the efficacy is just as high as that of flu vaccines, whose effectiveness has not yet been challenged. Medical experts, virologists, and also the World Health Organization have therefore repeatedly emphasized in recent days that the drug is effective and, like the other substances, also protects against severe corona. The highly contagious South African mutation is just as much a problem for AstraZeneca as it is for Biotech and Moderna.

SPD health expert and epidemiologist Karl Lauterbach now wants to set a good example. He announced that he would be working as a vaccinator at a Leverkusen vaccination center at the end of next week and would be administered the vaccine from AstraZeneca.

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