Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid jab should not be given to over 65s, Germany claims

Germany has said the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn't be given to people over the age of 65, but Boris Johnson is not worried over the reports.

The news comes after Reuters reported Germany's vaccine committee made the recommendation, citing insufficient data about how effective the jab is for older people, but not regarding safety concerns.

But the Prime Minister said he was not worried as Britain's medicines regulator judge it as "effective across all age groups and provides a good immune response across all age groups".

He added "I don't agree" with the assessment in Germany, writes Sky News.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said its research findings "support efficacy in the over 65 years age group".

Public Health England said the immune response data was also "very reassuring", though it added there were too few cases in older people in trials to say what precise level of protection the over 65s get.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at PHE, said: "There were too few cases in older people in the AstraZeneca trials to observe precise levels of protection in this group, but data on immune responses were very reassuring.

"The risk of severe disease and death increase exponentially with age – the priority is to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible with either vaccine, to protect more people and save more lives."

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The European Medicines Agency is set to make a decision on whether to approve the vaccine today.

It comes as Brussels and the pharmaceutical giant are involved in a row over the EU's slow start to start its inoculation programme.

Belgian authorities said yesterday they carried out an inspection of a vaccine factory on instruction from the EU Commission.

AstraZeneca said it would have to cut the amount of jabs delivered to the 27 nations before the end of March from 80 million to 31m, due to production issues at factories in Europe.

Professor Stephen Evans from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said there is "no reason at all for anyone in the UK or elsewhere to think that this Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is ineffective at any age".

He added: "Its ability to be delivered to people in GP surgeries and care homes makes it a vital component in the attempts to reduce hospitalisation and deaths, especially in the elderly."

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