Germany: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should not be used in over 65s

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Choreograph
© GettyImages/Choreograph

Related tags: Robert Koch Institute, Astrazeneca, COVID-19, Ema

German officials are not recommending the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine on people aged over 65, according to a report in the Financial Times.

A statement by the Standing Vaccine Commission at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s main public health agency, said there was “insufficient data”​ currently available to ascertain how effective the vaccine was in people older than 65.

It therefore proposed the jab only be used in people aged between 18 and 64 years old.

The recommendation from that German institute comes after Emer Cooke, the head of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), said on Tuesday that the vaccine may be authorized only for younger people in Europe, due to the lack of data on its use in the elderly.

The EMA is expected to grant emergency authorization of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine tomorrow.

Cooke told the European parliament that the EMA has been examining the totality of the data submitted by AstraZeneca across different age groups.

Separately, South Korea's government also said today that it will review the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for the elderly because of limited efficacy data, as it unveiled a plan to inoculate 10 million high-risk people by July, reported Reuters.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine has already been approved in the UK for use during the pandemic, with 82-year-old Brian Pinker from Oxford the first person, outside of clinical trials, to receive the vaccine.

The British-Swedish company has rejected media reports that its vaccine was not very effective for people over 65.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca told this publication on Tuesday that the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) supported use of the vaccine in the 65+ population group and the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), included this group without dose adjustment in the authorization for emergency supply.

“In November, we published data in The Lancet demonstrating that older adults showed strong immune responses to the vaccine, with 100% of older adults generating spike-specific antibodies after the second dose.”

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