The German government has recommended that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine should not be given to people over 65.
Germany’s main public health agency, said there were “insufficient data currently available to ascertain how effective the vaccination is above 65 years”.
For that reason, the commission said it was recommending that the vaccine only be used on people aged between 18 and 64.
It added that the two shots already approved by the European Medicines Agency — from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna — were judged to be “equivalent in terms of safety and efficacy”.
The EMA is expected to reach a long-awaited decision on the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the EU on Friday.
According to a set of trial data released by the German vaccine commission, just two of 660 trial participants over the age of 65 got Covid-19 — one in the vaccinated and one in the control group — which is far below the number needed to draw statistical conclusions.
That set of trial data showed an overall efficacy of 70.4%.
AstraZeneca rejected the German recommendation, saying the latest analysis of the clinical trial data for the vaccine supported efficacy in the over-65 age group.
“We await a regulatory decision on the vaccine by the EMA in the coming days,” it said.
The EMA declined to comment on the German recommendation, pointing instead to a statement it made earlier on Thursday, saying it was still evaluating the vaccine.