The unbiased fee advising the German authorities on vaccination coverage has advisable that the AstraZeneca vaccine not be used for individuals aged over 65, in a transfer prone to complicate the acrimonious rollout of the jab within the EU.
A press release by the Standing Vaccine Fee on the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s primary public well being company, mentioned there have been “inadequate information at the moment out there to establish how efficient the vaccination is above 65 years”.
For that motive, the fee advisable that the vaccine solely be used for individuals aged between 18 and 64. The physique added that the 2 vaccines that had been accredited by the EU authorities — from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna — had been judged to be “equal when it comes to security and efficacy”.
Shares in AstraZeneca fell 2.4 per cent after the information.
The advice comes because the European Medicines Company regulator is anticipated to present its long-awaited approval to the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday. It additionally comes because the EU and AstraZeneca are locked in a crisis over vaccine provides, after Brussels attacked the corporate’s “continued lack of readability” on its supply schedule.
Whereas either side mentioned high-level emergency talks held on Wednesday night time had been “constructive”, they did little to resolve the dispute over whether or not the corporate ought to ship tens of thousands and thousands extra doses to the EU than it plans to over the primary three months of the yr.
The European Fee on Wednesday mentioned AstraZeneca should use production from its UK plants to make extra deliveries to the EU. The corporate insisted that its contract with the European bloc didn’t bind it to stay to its unique supply schedule, however solely to make its “greatest effort” to take action.
Stella Kyriakides, the EU’s well being commissioner, mentioned late on Wednesday that the European bloc remained “united and agency” in its perception that “contractual obligations should be met”.
“We remorse the continued lack of readability on the supply schedule and request a transparent plan from AstraZeneca for the quick supply of the amount of vaccines that we reserved for Q1,” she mentioned on Twitter after the talks with firm representatives, together with Pascal Soriot, chief govt. “We are going to work with the corporate to search out options and ship vaccines quickly for EU residents.”
AstraZeneca mentioned Mr Soriot had been happy to take part within the assembly with the EU’s vaccine steering board, which incorporates representatives from the fee and member states.
“We had a constructive and open dialog concerning the complexities of scaling up manufacturing of our vaccine, and the challenges we now have encountered,” the corporate mentioned. “Now we have dedicated to even nearer co-ordination to collectively chart a path for the supply of our vaccine over the approaching months as we proceed our efforts to carry this vaccine to thousands and thousands of Europeans at no revenue in the course of the pandemic.”
EU officers say AstraZeneca now plans to ship solely a few quarter of the 100m or extra doses anticipated in the course of the first three months of the yr, dealing a heavy blow to the European bloc’s already lagging vaccine rollout. The corporate has blamed the shortfall on provide chain issues and has insisted that — opposite to EU officers’ suspicions — it has not diverted deliveries from the European bloc to the UK or different nations.
On Friday, the fee is because of unveil proposals to tighten rules on exports of jabs outdoors the bloc, though it stays unclear whether or not it’s going to give member states the powers to dam shipments.