Germany vaccine body says over-65s should get AstraZeneca jab | World news

Join Hafta-Ichi to Research the article “Germany vaccine body says over-65s should get AstraZeneca jab | World news”

Germany’s vaccination committee has reversed its guidance not to administer the AstraZeneca jab to over-65s in light of new studies proving the vaccine’s efficacy, promising to unblock a bottleneck in the country’s immunisation campaign.

The country’s Standing Commission on Vaccination on Thursday confirmed it had updated its guidance on the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company’s product and also recommended to follow the British model of stretching out the first and second dose to up to three months, rather than six weeks as previously advised.

“This is good news for older people who are waiting for a vaccine. They can now be vaccinated more quickly,” the German health ministry said in a statement. “We will shortly issue a regulation implementing both recommendations.”

While the European Medicines Agency (EMA) cleared the Oxford-developed shot for all adults from the beginning, Germany was among several European countries that advised limiting its use because of a lack of clinical trial data on its efficacy in the over-65 age group.

Germany cases

The decision further hampered Germany’s already stuttering vaccination drive, fanning doubts about AstraZeneca’s ability to protect people against the virus that had been sparked by misleading reports in the German press, the emergence of a more resilient South African variant and the US regulator’s hesitancy in approving the product for use.

The vaccination committee’s caution also wrong-footed regional authorities that had started to gear their efforts towards contacting and vaccinating the elderly, with reports of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine piling up in storage across Germany.

The Oxford jab has the advantage of being able to be stored at fridge temperature, meaning it could be administered more easily via doctor’s practices than those produced by BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the heads of the country’s 16 federal states had urged the standing commission to “urgently” adjust its guidance at the end of a summit Wednesday night.

At their gathering, the politicians agreed to continue the country’s lockdown until 28 March while gradually lifting several restrictions in accordance with a complex mechanism – a move that is seen as a reaction to mounting lockdown fatigue rather than the pandemic’s current dynamic.

Florists, bookshops, gardening stores and beauty parlours will open across the country from Monday, and up to five people from two households will be allowed to gather, with children under 14 exempt.

Further shops will reopen provided that regional case numbers are below 50 per 100,00 people. But if cases rise over 50 per 100,000, customers will have to book slots to visit shops. If cases rise to over 100 per 100,000 over three days in a row, restrictions will be reimposed.

Three weeks ago Merkel and allies had still held up a seven-day rate of 35 – as opposed to 50 – infections per 100,000 people as the crucial threshold for infections. But as the curve of new cases began to flatline and then gradually rise again, the government lowered its ambitions.

Those pushing for an exit from lockdown argue that almost half of those in the priority group of vulnerable people the government is trying to shield from the virus have already been vaccinated, and the number of overall deaths continues to follow a downward trend.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Germany vaccine body says over-65s should get AstraZeneca jab | World news

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *