The AstraZeneca vaccine is only recommended for those under the age of 65, German health officials say
Berlin (CNN) – The German Interior Ministry said on Thursday that the German vaccination committee recommended that the Coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford should not be given to people over the age of 65.
The Standing Committee on Immunization (STIKO) of the German Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s leading public health authority, found that there is insufficient data on vaccine efficacy for this age group, according to a statement issued by the ministry.
Given the small number of study participants in the 65-year-old age group, no conclusions can be drawn regarding efficacy and safety in older adults. Therefore, STIKO currently only recommends this vaccine for people between the ages of 18 and 64, ”the committee said in its recommendation.
The United Kingdom, whose organization approved the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine nearly a month ago, has been treating people over the age of 65.
In its report, the regulator, the MHRA, said there was “limited information available about efficacy in participants over the age of 65, although there was no indication of a lack of protection.”
The European Union ordered 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which could be approved for use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as early as Friday, with an option to purchase an additional 100 million doses.
A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said he expects a regulatory decision from EMA soon. “Reports that the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine is low in adults over 65 are not an accurate reflection of the totality of the data,” the spokesman said.
Recent analyzes support effectiveness in this age group, which we hope the EMA will release in the next few days. The most recent publication in The Lancet showed that elderly people demonstrated strong immune responses to the vaccine, with 100% of the elderly generating antibodies specific to elevation after the second dose.
“The data problem with the elderly is not related to whether it is working or not. Today we have a limited amount of data on the elderly population,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica on Tuesday.
This was because the Oxford scientists who conducted the vaccine trials did not want to recruit the elderly until they “gathered a lot of safety data” for people between the ages of 18 and 55, Suriot said.
“Basically because Oxford started vaccinating seniors at a later time, we don’t have a large number of elderly people who have been vaccinated. That’s the debate,” he said. But we have strong data that shows very strong production of antibodies to the virus in the elderly, similar to what we see in the very young. It is possible that some countries, as a precaution, may use our vaccine for the younger group.