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COVID-19: EU regulators approve use of AstraZeneca vaccine for all adults

EU drug regulators have announced AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine can be given to all adults in the bloc – the third jab to be approved.

The advice from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) comes after questions were raised in Germany over how effective the AstraZeneca jab, developed with Oxford University, is in protecting older people.

Only 12% of those who took part in the trials were over 55 and they were enrolled later, so there has not been enough time to collate the results.

On Thursday, a draft recommendation from Germany’s vaccination advisory committee said the AstraZeneca vaccine should currently only be given to people aged 18-64.

But the EU regulators said in a statement: “There are not yet enough results in older participants (over 55 years old) to provide a figure for how well the vaccine will work in this group.

“However, protection is expected, given that an immune response is seen in this age group and based on experience with other vaccines.

“As there is reliable information on safety in this population, EMA’s scientific experts considered that the vaccine can be used in older adults.”

UK regulators acknowledged the limited data for older people when it cleared the jab last month for people over 18.

But Public Health England has said details on the immune response for those 65 and over had been “reassuring”.

A separate study testing the AstraZeneca vaccine in the US is still under way.

It comes amid a bitter wrangle between AstraZeneca and the EU over delayed supplies.

Brussels has hit out at AstraZeneca after the drug giant said it would reduce initial deliveries from 80 million doses to 31 million, blaming production problems.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has said the contract contained binding orders and the bloc has raised the threat of legal action to secure COVID-19 stocks.

The EMA has already authorised the Pfizer and Moderna jabs for all adults.

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