Germany gives green light for over 65s to receive AstraZeneca vaccine

Germany gives green light for over 65s to receive AstraZeneca vaccine
A police officer being given the AstraZeneca vaccine in Brandenburg. Photo: DPA
Germany's vaccine commission has done a U-turn - and is now recommending the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for people over the age of 65.

“The vaccine commission now recommends the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 65 as well. This is good news for older people who are waiting for a jab,” said Health Minister Jens Spahn.

Germany had previously said it lacked sufficient data to greenlight the vaccine for older people, but has changed its position following recent studies.

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“The new data also shows that the vaccine is even more effective when the first and second jabs are administered 12 weeks apart,” said Spahn.

He added that Germany’s vaccine law would soon be changed to reflect the new recommendations.

Thursday’s announcement came after Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that the commission would be changing their position on the AstraZeneca jab.

The German government had been criticised in recent weeks for muddled communications about the AstraZeneca jab, leading to a public perception that the vaccine was less effective than those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Some of the Germans first in line for a Covid-19 jab have spurned the AstraZeneca offer, leaving the country with hundreds of thousands of unopened doses.

States have started to offer the jab to under 65s from vaccination priority group 2, which includes teachers, daycare staff and police officers, in order to speed up the rollout.

Greenlighting the jab for the oldest age groups is expected to help Germany work through the backlog and pick up the pace of its sluggish vaccine rollout.

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