Poland has joined a list of countries, including Germany and France, who have questioned the efficacy of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in elderly people, citing too little research involving people over the age of 55.
“If we are talking about the decision of the [Polish] medical council, we expect it in the coming days or possibly hours, but it is clear that elderly people will not be vaccinated with this shot,” said Michal Dworczyk, the prime minister’s top aide, who has been put in charge of vaccinations.
He added that a final decision on the issue would be made after the medical council had made its own recommendations clear.
Dworczyk acknowledged that the European Medicines Agency has approved the vaccine for people above the age of 18, but noted there were not yet enough results for its use among people over 55 to determine how well the vaccine will work for that cohort of the population.
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The move follows a similar decision in Germany where officials said last week the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine should not be given to people older than 65 years, once again citing a lack of data.
On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine was “quasi-ineffective for people over 65.” His remarks have subsequently been rejected by leading UK government scientists.
“In my view the politicians need to understand the science before they make utterances like that,” Professor Anthony Harnden of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) told Good Morning Britain on Monday.
“This vaccine [AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 jab], from the data, is very very effective against hospitalisations and deaths and nearly 100% effective actually,” he added.
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UK scientist slams Macron’s claims that AstraZeneca jab is ‘quasi-ineffective’ in over-65s
On Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA)recommended the vaccine, and the European Commission gave its final approval for the jab.
The EMA added that there wasn’t enough evidence to know how well the jab will work in over-55s but said protection is “expected,” given the immune response seen among this age group from other vaccines.
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