vaccines

EU regulator approves AstraZeneca vaccine for all adults despite German doubts

The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is the third to be given the green light by the EU regulator after Pfizer and Moderna.
The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is the third to be given the green light by the EU regulator after Pfizer and Moderna. © AP/Tibor Rosta
3 min

Europe's medicines regulator has recommended the AstraZeneca/Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine for all aged 18 and above, despite reservations from Germany, which said there was insufficient data to support the injection's effectiveness for those above 55 years old.

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Europe urgently needs more shots to speed up its inoculation programme with suppliers such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer facing difficulties in delivering the quantities promised for the early months of the year.

The European Medicines Agency licensed the vaccine to be used in people 18 and over, though concerns had been raised this week that not enough data exist to prove it works in older people.

There were not yet enough results for people over the age of 55 to determine how well the vaccine would work for this group, the EMA said.

However, it said protection was expected and that the vaccine can be given to older people.

The AstraZeneca vaccine demonstrated an efficacy of around 60 percent in the trials on which it based its decision, the EMA said in a statement.

The shot is the third Covid-19 vaccine given the green light by the European Medicines Agency, after ones made by Pfizer and Moderna. Both were authorised for all adults.

“With this third positive opinion, we have further expanded the arsenal of vaccines available to EU and EEA member states to combat the pandemic and protect their citizens,” said Emer Cooke, Executive Director of EMA.

Europe urgently needs more shots to speed up its inoculation programme with suppliers such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer facing difficulties in delivering the quantities promised for the early months of the year.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is administered via two injections into the arm, the second between 4 and 12 weeks after the first.

Concerns over its value for the elderly were raised on Thursday when Germany's vaccine committee said it should be given only to people aged between 18 and 64, due to a lack of data about how effective it is in older people.

(with Reuters)

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