EU set to approve AstraZeneca vaccine despite criticism from Germany

29 January 2021, 09:10

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is set to be approved by EU regulators
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is set to be approved by EU regulators. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The European Union is set to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine just 24 hours after German authorities advised over-65s against taking it.

If approved by the European Medical Agency (EMA) it will boost the EU's supplies, with hopes they will get access to millions of UK-manufactured doses.

The drug uses weakened versions of adenoviruses - a group of viruses that typically infect membranes of the eyes, respiratory tract, urinary tract, intestines and nervous system, and include the common cold.

Read more: Novavax Covid vaccine proves 89% effective in trials - with 60 million doses on order

It is not yet clear whether the regulator will set an age limit on the drug after German officials on Wednesday told its elderly population it should not receive the jab and opt for an alternative.

Top virologist reacts to Germans advising against Oxford jab

German authorities have said there is currently "not sufficient data to assess the vaccination effectiveness from 65 years".

But Public Health England (PHE) said data on the immune response for those aged 65 and over had been "reassuring".

The Prime Minister also argued that the evidence shows that the vaccine "provides a good immune response across all age groups".

Read more: German authorities advise against over-65s getting AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

Deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), Professor Anthony Harnden, said Germany had far more Pfizer vaccine than Oxford/AstraZeneca supplies so wanted to prioritise its larger supply for its elderly population.

But he stressed that the Oxford jab was "absolutely safe and effective" and that the JCVI was "completely confident of this".

Race Equality Foundation chief responds to jab hesitation study

The decision comes amid a deepening row between the EU, AstraZeneca and the UK over vaccine supply shortages in the bloc.

Brussels has demanded doses be sent from British plants to make up for a shortfall, but Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the Government will not allow vaccines intended for the UK to go to the EU.

The President of the European Council on Wednesday night told the bloc to consider legal action to secure the doses if needed.

Read more: EU told to consider legal action amid bitter row over AstraZeneca vaccine supply

In a letter, Charles Michel said the group needs to take "robust action to secure its supply of vaccines and demonstrate concretely that the protection of our citizens take absolute priority."

Prime minister Boris Johnson has already ordered 100 million doses of the drug for the UK.

The jab is already being administered at speed throughout the UK after getting the green light from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on December 30.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Jessica Lawson drowned on a school trip in 2015

French lifeguard and local council found guilty of manslaughter after Brit girl, 12, drowned in lake on school trip

The scandal surrounding Strictly Come Dancing has deepened after footage showing former professional dancer James Jordan telling his celebrity partner Georgina Bouzova "kill you" surfaced on social media.

Ex-Strictly star James Jordan hits back after resurfaced training footage from show sparks backlash

Mark Rowley says the number of officers in the Met is falling

Met Police officer numbers drop as force calls for 'thousands of applicants' in new recruitment drive

Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid

Joe Biden cancels campaign event after testing positive for Covid-19

Starmer is set to push for a migrant return deal with the EU

Starmer to push for new migrant return deal with EU, as he seeks to 'renew UK's relationship with Europe' at summit

Keir Starmer faces a challenge over the two-child benefit cap

Keir Starmer seeks to stave off Labour backbench revolt over benefit cap with child poverty taskforce

A man has been shot dead in Kirkby

Man shot dead on residential street close to Liverpool training ground, as police launch murder investigation

Joe Biden has hinted he could step aside from the race against Donald Trump for the White House

Biden hints he could quit election race against Trump on medical advice, as top Democrat calls for him to stand down

The scandal surrounding Strictly Come Dancing has deepened after footage showing former professional dancer James Jordan telling his celebrity partner Georgina Bouzova "kill you" surfaced on social media.

Strictly scandal deepens as footage showing ex-pro telling partner he will 'kill her' emerges

Liz Truss

Reference to Truss' 'disaster' mini-budget removed from King's Speech files after ex-PM complains to civil service chief

Police found "over a dozen" firearms at Crooks' home

Thomas Crooks' father 'called police on the day of the Trump rally shooting'

Cameron Jones left his dying fiancee Demi by the side of the road

Moment driver flees from car wreckage leaving fiancee to die - before he later blames her for horror crash

Kim Johnson wants the two-child benefit cap to be scrapped

Labour MP calls for two-child benefit cap to be axed as she plans King's Speech amendment after policy retained

Adele has played 90 shows in Las Vegas

Adele announces she is stepping back from music after growing to ‘absolutely hate’ fame

Two British travel agents are believed to be the pair found shot dead and their bodies burned in a car in Malmo.

British travel agents thought to be pair shot dead and burned in car in Malmo

Two dead and two children in hospital after house fire in Blackpool

Two die and two children rushed to hospital after house fire in Blackpool