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The UK reasserts that the AZ vaccine is ‘effective across all age groups’

Germany's draft guidance does not recommend the vaccine for people over 65

In response to Germany’s decision not to recommend the AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine for older people, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has maintained that the vaccine is effective for all age groups.

Johnson’s comments come after a draft recommendation from Germany’s vaccine committee, which advised against giving the AZ/Oxford vaccine to people aged 65 years and older.

The reason given for Germany's decision is that there is not currently enough data to back the use of the vaccine in this age group.

However, Johnson said that he “doesn’t agree” with this assessment of the vaccine, adding during a visit to Scotland that “[British] authorities have made it very clear that they think the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is efficacious".

“The evidence that they’ve seen, that they’ve supplied, is that they think that it is effective across all age groups, and provides a good immune response across all age groups,” he added.

Also responding to Germany’s assessment, Public Health England’s (PHE) head of immunisations Mary Ramsay said that although “there were too few cases in older people in the AstraZeneca trials to observe precise levels of protection, the data on immune responses was very reassuring”.

"Both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are safe and provide high levels of protection against COVID-19, particularly against severe disease,” she added.

In clinical trials evaluating the AZ/Oxford University vaccine, the candidate was found to trigger protective antibodies and T cell responses in older age groups.

In addition to the promising immune response in older adults, AZ also said that adverse responses were lower among the elderly.

The EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) will meet on 29 January to review all data submitted by AZ regarding the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

The EU has an advanced purchase agreement in place for the supply of 400 million doses of the AZ/Oxford University vaccine, to be delivered in instalments, following regulatory approval.

However, AZ has notified the EU that deliveries in the first quarter on the year will be reduced due to production problems.

“We regret the continued lack of clarity on the delivery schedule and request a clear plan from AstraZeneca for the fast delivery of the quantity of vaccines that we reserved for Q1,” Stella Kyriakides, EU Health Commissioner, said earlier this week.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

29th January 2021

From: Regulatory

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