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Germany changes guidance and recommends Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for over-65s

Written by on 04/03/2021

German health officials have U-turned on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and recommended it is safe for use on over-65s.

The German health ministry said on Thursday that its independent vaccine committee has now formally approved the COVID-19 jab for use in that age group.

It comes after disproved claims in Europe that the jab was as little as 8% effective among the elderly.

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The AstraZeneca vaccine has successfully been delivered to Ghana
Image: Several EU countries have restricted use of the AstraZeneca jab on the elderly

German health officials have also said that delaying the second dose of the Oxford jab by 12 weeks – as the UK is doing – increases its efficacy.

Health minister Jens Spahn said the change in position is “good news for older people who are waiting for a vaccination”. “They will get vaccinated faster,” he added.

Germany had previously claimed that there was not enough reliable efficacy data to allow the AstraZeneca jab to be used on the over-65s.

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Other European countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, followed, with French President Emmanuel Macron claiming it was “quasi-ineffective” on pensioners.

But this week, France U-turned on its decision and approved it for use on people aged between 65 and 74 with underlying health conditions.

Mr Macron said he would accept the vaccine himself and urged his German counterpart Angela Merkel to do the same.

There has been widespread criticism of the comparatively slow rollout of coronavirus vaccines within the EU, with many saying the bloc failed to secure adequate supplies.

 Sky News

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