Trust has long been a central issue in France, where skepticism toward Covid-19 vaccines late last year was widespread. In December less than half the population said it was ready to be vaccinated.

That number, according to a poll by Harris Interactive, had risen to 64 percent earlier this month, before the AstraZeneca setback. Even then, however, trust in the AstraZeneca vaccine was lower, at 43 percent of the population, a number now halved.

The situation is scarcely better in Germany, although its death rate from the virus has been lower than France’s. “Stopping the AstraZeneca maximizes the damage to its image that has plagued the German vaccination strategy from the beginning,” Ulrich Weigeldt, the head of the German Association of General Practitioners, told the Funke media group. “Vaccination is and remains a question of trust.”

Confidence in the vaccine remains fairly high in Britain, where millions of people have received it, and even on the continent, many Europeans seem untouched by the AstraZeneca fears. “I would definitely get the AstraZeneca vaccine if approved again,” said Corinne Taddei, 60, a karate instructor in Paris. The Covid vaccines, she said, are “the only solution to save us and get out of this pandemic.”

Maria Paraskevoula, a 52-year-old teacher in Athens, was also unbowed. “I’ll take any vaccine, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, I don’t care. From what I’ve heard, the chances of any problems are minimal. There’s always a risk but isn’t a bigger risk to walk around waiting to get infected?”

Last week, when reports surfaced that two men in Sicily, an Italian naval officer and a police officer, had died shortly after taking the AstraZeneca shot, the website of the Tuscany region registered 4,100 cancellations for the AstraZeneca vaccine in a day, roughly 12 percent of the people booked for the week ahead. In a few days, however, the vacancies were filled by other residents.

The disarray comes at a difficult moment with Europe facing what Mr. Castex, the French prime minister, has called “a kind of third wave” from new variants of the virus, even as exhaustion and depression have set in, along with severe hardship. Europe’s eventual economic recovery from the pandemic is set to be much slower than the American.

With the national mood restive, and a presidential election next year, the French government is wavering between further lockdowns and suggestions that by April 15 restaurants may start to open and a curfew be eased.

Its target of having 10 million people vaccinated with at least a first shot by mid-April, as compared to 5.6 million today, now looks ambitious given the fallout from the AstraZeneca panic. But French authorities insist it can be done, even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has to be withdrawn.

More than a year from the first lockdowns around Europe, an end to the crisis seems no closer. “I was never a No-Vaxxer,” said Laura Cerchi, a teacher at an elementary school on the outskirts of Florence who had her first shot of AstraZeneca in early March. “But all this confusion had me wondering whether I want to do the second shot or not. The mixed messages are not boosting my confidence in vaccines.”

In an interview, Clément Beaune, France’s junior minister for European Affairs, defended European policy. “I don’t believe that it’s European weightiness that is slowing down our vaccination process. Do we have problems in Europe? Yes. Would we — France, Germany — resolve these better at a national level waging war to obtain vaccine doses? I do not believe so.”

Reporting was contributed by Gaëlle Fournier, Aurelien Breeden and Constant Méheut in Paris, Melissa Eddy in Berlin, Emma Bubola in Milan and Gaia Pianigiani in Siena, Italy, and Niki Kitsantonis in Athens.

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