The German immunization commission said on Thursday that it only recommends the COVID-19 vaccine from British laboratory AstraZeneca for people under the age of 65 because of a lack of data for older people.
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“AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is currently only recommended for people aged 18 to 64,” writes the Immunization Commission (STIKO) in a document viewed by AFP. This opinion specifies that “the data currently available are insufficient to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine beyond 65 years”.
“Apart from this limitation”, the AstraZeneca vaccine developed with the University of Oxford is judged by the commission “just as suitable” to protect against Covid-19 as those developed by the BioNTech / Pfizer duo or the laboratory Moderna which are already approved in the European Union.
UK vaccine data is due for review by the European health regulator on Friday for clearance on the continent.
Each Member State is then free to make its own recommendations on the use of the vaccine.
The German STIKO commission manages the country’s various vaccination campaigns.
Two German media outlets this week questioned the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 65.
These remarks had been denied by the manufacturer as by the German government, for whom these media “confused” several data.
However the managing director of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, had recognized that there was “a limited amount of data for the elderly population”, thus judging “possible” that some countries prefer not to administer it to this category for the moment. .
According to AstraZeneca, the vaccine is 70% effective (compared to more than 90% for Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna), a result validated by the scientific journal The Lancet.
The British laboratory has suffered the wrath of European Union leaders for several days because of delays in deliveries planned for the quantities already ordered by the EU.