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VACCINE

German panel keeps advice against AstraZeneca jabs for over-65s

Germany's vaccine commission on Friday maintained its advice against using AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccines on older people, despite the EU regulator's decision to authorise it for all adults in the bloc over 18 years old.

German panel keeps advice against AstraZeneca jabs for over-65s
A nurse filling up an AstraZeneca jab in the UK. Photo: DPA

“Because of currently available data, the Covid-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca is recommended only for people aged 18 to 64 years old,” said the commission in its updated version of its advice.

“The reason is because there is currently insufficient data on the effectiveness of the vaccines on people above 65 years old,” said the commission known as STIKO.

The advice by the panel of medical experts will be taken into account by the government as it officially draws up its decree on usage of the vaccine.

The restriction recommended by STIKO has raised a debate in Germany over whether there needs to be a change in the order of who gets vaccinated first.

The country is currently prioritising older age groups, but questions have been raised about whether AstraZeneca’s jabs should immediately be offered to workers in essential jobs, such as teachers and police officers.

READ ALSO: German health ministry denies reports that AstraZeneca jab is less effective on elderly

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VACCINE

‘This can be a good summer’: Half of Germans vaccinated at least once against Covid

One in two Germans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, health authorities said Friday, before warning against complacency as the Delta variant is expected to become the dominant strain.

'This can be a good summer': Half of Germans vaccinated at least once against Covid
Jens Spahn. Photo: DPA/Carsten Koall

Some 50.1 percent of the total German population, or 41.66 million people, have now been vaccinated at least once against the coronavirus, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Friday.

At the same time 29.6 percent of the population now has full protection – that’s just under 25 million people.

“This can be a good summer,” said Health Minister Jens Spahn on Friday, before saying that the country needed to remain vigilant due to the spread of the Delta variant.

RKI President Lothar Wieler meanwhile warned that the numbers also showed that millions of people were still completely unprotected or only partially protected.

In order to largely dispense with the pandemic measures, the German government wants to hit 80 percent immunity – either through complete vaccination or an infection plus vaccination. 

The Delta variant, first identified in India, doubled to just over 6 percent of all new infections in Germany during the week ending June 6th in comparison with the previous seven days.

“By the autumn, it will be the dominant strain,” said Wieler.

It was “biologically logical” for the strain to become dominant simply because it was more infectious, he said.

Germany has eased most restrictions, reopening restaurants, shops, pools and museums in recent weeks as new infections dip sharply.

On Friday, it recorded 1,076 new cases, while the number of new cases over a seven day period continued to drop to 10 per 100,000 people.

Wieler said however that it was necessary to keep wearing masks indoors, such as on public transport or at offices.

“We have achieved really good results but the virus is still active and please let us give this virus no chance,” he urged.

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