Outrage at AstraZeneca boss’s ‘silence over safety worries around Covid jab’ as critics say he should speak up to ‘give out the right message’ about the vaccine
- Top AstraZeneca investor says boss ‘failed to properly defend the jab in public’
- Pascal Soriot is currently in Australia but is working EU business hours remotely
- Investment firm says that Mr Soriot should be defending the jab more forcefully
The boss of AstraZeneca was criticised last night for failing to defend his company’s vaccine as its safety was questioned.
Pascal Soriot, who is currently staying in Australia with his family, was accused of not properly explaining the benefits of the jab to the public as it was linked to rare blood clots.
Regulators have stressed that the benefits far outweigh the risks but they have recommended alternatives for people aged under 30.
Pascal Soriot, who is currently staying in Australia with his family, was accused of not properly explaining the benefits of the jab to the public as it was linked to rare blood clots
But EdenTree Investment Management, a top AstraZeneca investor, said Mr Soriot had failed to properly defend the jab in public and should be doing so more forcefully.
Ketan Patel, a fund manager at the firm, said the chief executive ‘hasn’t been that public and being halfway around the world doesn’t give the right signal or message’.
‘Perhaps it is right to say where is the chief executive in terms of articulating the healthcare benefits? It’s OK to work remotely but if you are the boss of a multi-billion pound healthcare company with a vaccine, I can see why people would be thinking ‘why isn’t Pascal here’,’ he said.
It comes after another top shareholder, Royal London, rallied to Mr Soriot’s defence saying his efforts during the pandemic have been ‘heroic’.
EdenTree Investment Management, a top AstraZeneca investor, said Mr Soriot had failed to properly defend the jab in public and should be doing so more forcefully
Mr Patel told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Pascal has done hugely well, the company is delivering good growth, but that success is being overshadowed by negative sentiment over the vaccine.
‘If we were grading the PR effort, they could do better.
‘If you look at the data, and see that the chances of getting a blood clot with this vaccine is about four in one million, compared to four in 10,000 for the contraceptive pill, that perspective needs to be highlighted.’
It comes after another top shareholder, Royal London, rallied to Mr Soriot’s defence, saying his efforts during the pandemic have been ‘heroic’.
Insiders at Astrazeneca have previously stressed that Mr Soriot is working European business hours and keeps in regular contact with colleagues and clients via videoconferencing.
They said current restrictions mean he would still have to do much of his work remotely even if he was in the UK.
However, the company has said he plans to return as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.
Last night an Astra spokesman said: ‘Travel restrictions and local lockdowns mean it makes little sense to be travelling right now, particularly given that many countries require quarantine.
‘Mr Soriot will continue to empower his team of experts and remain in regular contact with operational leaders in the many sites across the world.’