Head nurse Sam Foster is holding a vial of Oxford University / AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on January 4, 2021 at Churchill Hospital in Oxford, South West England.
Steve Parsons | AFP | Getty Images
LONDON – The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has been approved by the European Medicines Agency, the European Medicines Agency.
The EMA said on Friday that it had assessed the safety and effectiveness of the Covid vaccine and recommended that the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, give formal conditional marketing authorization.
It also said the shot would likely work in the elderly after a German vaccine committee recommended Thursday not to give the vaccine to those over 65.
“With this third positive opinion, we have further expanded the arsenal of vaccines available to EU and EEA member states to fight the pandemic and protect their citizens,” said Emer Cooke, Executive Director of EMA, in a statement on Friday.
“As in previous cases, the CHMP has rigorously evaluated this vaccine and the scientific basis of our work underpins our firm commitment to protecting the health of EU citizens,” said Cooke, referring to the EMA’s Committee on Medicinal Products for Human Use.
The vaccine is already in use in the UK after it was approved in late December and, along with the vaccine, now accounts for most of the shocks administered in the country Pfizer– –BioNTech Shot that is already approved for use in the EU.
Approval comes at a difficult time for the EU as the vaccination program is at best sluggish and very prone to supply shortages.
He has been dealt two blows in the past few weeks, one from Pfizer, who announced that it would temporarily cut production while improving production capacity at its Belgian facility. Then last Friday it was reported that AstraZeneca would deliver far fewer cans to the block than originally expected due to production problems at its plants in the Netherlands and Belgium this spring.
The delays have sparked a crisis in the EU which has announced it will curb exports of coronavirus vaccines from the bloc in order to give citizens priority. These controls are expected to last until March.
On Wednesday, the EU called on AstraZeneca to fulfill its agreement to supply millions of coronavirus vaccines by whatever means necessary. This suggests that the company is rerouting some deliveries from its UK manufacturing facilities to the EU.
On Thursday, doubts arose about the possible approval of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after the German vaccine committee recommended that the vaccine only be offered to people between the ages of 18 and 64.
This is due to the fact that there is not enough data to assess the effectiveness in people over 65 years of age.
Older study participants were later admitted to Phase 3 clinical trials with the AstraZeneca shot, which took place in the UK and Brazil and earlier in South Africa. As a result, there are fewer data on effectiveness in those over 65.
AstraZeneca said this data would be collected when its data was published Study results in the medical journal The Lancet in December: “As older age groups were recruited later than younger age groups, there was less time to collect cases. As a result, efficacy data in these cohorts are currently limited by the small number of cases, but additional data will be available in future analyzes,” it said .
On Friday when the AstraZeneca approval was announced, the EMA announced that older participants (over 55 years of age) had not yet had enough results to establish a number for the vaccine’s effectiveness in this group. However, it states that “protection is expected because an immune response is observed in this age group and is based on experience with other vaccines”.