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

28 January 2021, 14:40 | Updated: 28 January 2021, 17:18

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Germany's vaccines regulator has advised that over-65s should not take the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid jab.

The German Vaccination Commission said it was due to concerns about the efficacy of the vaccine in older people.

AstraZeneca does not yet have approval from the European Union to rollout its vaccine but is expected to receive it by the end of this week.

The regulator said that "aside from this limitation" the vaccine is "equally suitable" other jabs.

Read more: EU officials sent to ‘spot check’ AstraZeneca plant in Belgium in supply row

The EU has so far approved the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed the decision and argued it "provides a good immune response across all age groups".

Asked if he is concerned about the verdict, the PM told reporters: "No, because I think the MHRA, our own authorities, have made it very clear that they think the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is very good and efficacious, gives a high degree of protection after just one dose and even more after two doses.

He added: "And the evidence they've supplied is they think it's effective across all age groups and provides a good immune response across all age groups. I don't agree with that."

The advice from Germany comes amid a deepening row about how many doses of the UK-made Oxford/AstraZeneca drug will be sent to the bloc and when.

Last night officials threatened Britain will "suffer" due to the distribution of the jab, of which the UK ordered doses three months before the EU.

On Thursday morning, authorities were sent to "spot check" another AstraZeneca plant in Belgium to find out whether delays in the deliveries of jabs are due to production issues.

Read more: Man arrested over 'suspicious package' found at Wrexham Covid-19 vaccine factory

The Novasep's factory in the town of Seneffe is part of the European production chain for the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

AstraZeneca said last week that it planned to cut initial deliveries in the EU to 31 million doses from the 80 million it had planned due to reduced yields from its manufacturing plants in Europe.