Germany expects EU to OK AstraZeneca vaccine with age caveat

by Jeremy

Jens Spahn said it wasn’t’ clear whether the decision by the European Medicines Agency would explicitly recommend against using the vaccine in people 65 and over, or whether it would merely note the lack of data for older people, meaning “no restrictions but caution in certain areas.” Germany will adjust its guidance once it sees the EMA’s decision.

We don’t expect an unrestricted approval,” Spahn told reporters in Berlin. “The data available for older people, and that’s been the debate in recent days, isn’t sufficient for that.”

While the AstraZeneca vaccine has been authorized for all adults in other countries, only 12% of the participants in its research were over 55, and they were enrolled later, so there hasn’t been enough time to get results.

A large trial published last month showed the vaccine was about 70% effective in preventing people from getting sick from the coronavirus. However, it is unknown whether the shot stops disease transmission.

A recommendation that only people under 65 get the vaccine could complicate the rollout in many European countries that have focused on giving shots to older people first when they have been criticized for not vaccinating people as quickly as Britain, Israel, and the U.S. The rollout difficulties are particularly worrying as countries face surging cases in a pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 400,000 people in the 27-nation bloc. At the same time, politicians have blamed supply problems for the slow rollout, other factors.

Like onerous paperwork and poor planning have also played a role. The EU has particularly lashed out at AstraZeneca after the drugmaker said it would not supply as much vaccine initially as was initially anticipated. Further raising concerns about supplies to the bloc, which is home to some 450 million people, Moderna told countries including Italy and Denmark the company would be delivering fewer vaccines than expected initially.

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