French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine does not appear to be effective for people over 65 years of age.
Just hours before the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended the vaccine for adults of all ages, Macron spoke to reporters about the UK’s decision to postpone the second dose of Covid vaccines in order to vaccinate more people.
Macron said there was “very little information” available about the vaccine developed by the Anglo-Swedish company and Oxford University.
“Today we think it is virtually ineffective for people over 65,” he told reporters, his office confirmed to AFP.
“What I can officially tell you today is that the first results we have are not encouraging for 60-65 year olds about AstraZeneca,” he said.
Macron said he was waiting for the EMA’s ruling – which came later on Friday – and also for the French health authority “because they have the numbers”.
The French experts’ decision on the vaccine is expected early next week, according to the health authority.
“I don’t have any data and I don’t have my own scientific team to check the numbers,” Macron admitted.
Macron commented on the UK’s vaccination strategy of lengthening the time between the first and second dose to give the maximum number of people the protection that the first dose offers. “The goal is not to get as many first doses as possible.”
In order to speed up the introduction of the vaccine, UK health chiefs have postponed the second dose for up to 12 weeks.
“When you have all the health officials and manufacturers telling you that you need to give two injections with a maximum of 28 days between the two for this to work, as it does with Pfizer / BioNTech, and you have countries that do. ” I’m not sure it’s absolutely serious, “Macron said.
“Scientists tell you that if you only give one injection, we speed up mutations because people are less covered and so the virus adapts.
“We are lying to people when we say you are vaccinated. You have a first dose of a vaccine that is two,” he added.
Meanwhile, the German Vaccine Commission on Friday maintained its advice against the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccines in the elderly.
“The reason is that there is currently insufficient data on the effectiveness of the vaccines in people over 65 years of age,” said the commission known as STIKO.
The advice of the Medical Expert Panel will be taken into account by the government in the official drafting of its decree on the use of the vaccine.
The discussion about the right age group for the vaccine has exacerbated the controversy surrounding AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
The European Commission released a revised version of its deal with the drug giant on Friday in hopes of proving that the company breached a vaccine delivery obligation.
Brussels is furious with the pharmaceutical company after warning that it could only deliver a fraction of the doses expected by the EU if the vaccine is approved for block use.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)