Germany to revisit vaccine schedule amid AstraZeneca age concerns
Germans over the age of 65 might receive alternative vaccines to the AstraZeneca jab, the country’s Health Minister Jens Spahn has said.
The Christian Democratic Union lawmaker confirmed plans to review the country’s vaccine strategy in light of the “age component” for the British-Swedish vaccine during a virtual town hall on Saturday, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Sunday.
Spahn’s comments follow a recommendation by the country’s advisory body that “insufficient data” on the senior age group means the vaccine should be reserved for people aged between 18 to 64 years.
Germany’s move comes despite the European Medicines Agency’s decision Friday to OK the AstraZeneca vaccine for all EU adults above the age of 18. While the EU regulator said there was not yet enough evidence to judge its effectiveness in older people, they said there is no reason to think the vaccine would not work.
Concerns over the data emerged after German newspaper Handelsblatt reported Monday that Berlin feared the AstraZeneca vaccine had an efficacy of just 8 percent in the elderly. Germany’s health ministry pushed back on the reporting, accusing the newspaper of being “confused.”
Germany isn’t the only country erring on the side of caution.
While the Italian Medicines Agency AIFA authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine for all age groups on Saturday, it recommended that it only be administered to people between 18 and 55 years and said alternative jabs are preferred for anyone older.