Germany approves AstraZeneca for over-65s

04 Mars, 2021, 21:09 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • AstraZeneca

Germany's vaccination authority has approved the use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine on the over-65s, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, in a step that should help accelerate the country's faltering vaccination drive. "They will get vaccinated faster".

Health Minister Jens Spahn said the vaccine campaign should be speeded up within days, assuming approval is granted for over-65s to get the AstraZeneca/Oxford shot.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommends giving Pfizer and BioNTech's injections three weeks apart and AstraZeneca's up to 12 weeks apart.

The vaccine made by British-Swedish company AstraZeneca is one of three authorized for use in the 27-nation European Union, though it has not yet receive the green light from US regulators.

Germany had previously said it lacked sufficient data to greenlight the jab for those over 65, but Merkel said that thinking had changed thanks to recent encouraging studies.

But in an announcement today, the Standing Committee on Vaccination said that the earlier decision was "made completely correctly on the basis of the data available at the time".

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The German decision was in line with recommendations by the European Union's health regulator that the second shot of AstraZeneca's vaccine be administered between four and 12 weeks after the first. The analysis released by Public Health England, which hasn't been peer-reviewed yet, also showed that both vaccines were about 80 per cent effective in preventing hospitalizations among people over 80. Britain, which has had a notably successful vaccination rollout, has been going with the 12-week spacing for vaccine shots since previous year.

France, Belgium and Italy loosened their age restrictions for the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this week as they scramble to confront a looming third spike in Covid-19 cases driven by more contagious virus variants.

Spahn said that Stiko's recommendations on the AstraZeneca vaccine will be swiftly added to Germany's vaccine rules.

Restrictive rules and a rush of deliveries mean Germany is sitting on a stockpile of more than two million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine even as many who want it can not get the shots.

Bavaria's state premier Markus Soeder called for "caution, trust and responsibility".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to agree on a gradual lifting of the coronavirus curbs when she meets with the regional leaders later on Wednesday, Reuters reports, citing draft plans.

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