Jan. 28, 2021, 11:20 a.m. EST

AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to under-65s, Germany recommends as EU shortage crisis deepens

new
Watchlist Relevance
LEARN MORE

Want to see how this story relates to your watchlist?

Just add items to create a watchlist now:

  • X
    Twitter Inc. (TWTR)
  • X
    AstraZeneca PLC (AZN)
  • X
    Pfizer Inc. (PFE)

or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In

By Lina Saigol and Callum Keown

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine should only be given to people under the age of 65, Germany’s vaccine committee recommended on Thursday, citing insufficient data on its efficacy among older people.

The news comes as Europe’s vaccine supply problems threaten to develop into a full-blown crisis, with German health minister Jens Spahn warning the country faces a “tough 10 weeks” of shortages.

The European Medicines Agency is expected to grant emergency authorization for use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which the drug company developed with the University of Oxford, in the EU on Friday. But the independent commission advising the German government said the shot should only be given to people aged between 18 and 64. 

“There are currently insufficient data available to assess the vaccine efficacy from 65 years of age,” the committee said in a statement released by the German health ministry. “The AstraZeneca vaccine, unlike the mRNA vaccines, should only be offered to people aged 18-64 years at each stage,” it added, according to Reuters .

Read: AstraZeneca–Oxford COVID shot is ‘safe and effective,’ full trial data show

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said: “The latest analyses of clinical trial data for the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine support efficacy in the over 65 years age group. We await a regulatory decision on the vaccine by the EMA in the coming days.”

Shares in AstraZeneca, which fell as much as 2.4% after the news, recovered to trade 0.89% lower in midafternoon in London on Thursday.

As Europe battles with vaccine shortages, the U.K. has started manufacturing up to 60 million doses of a new COVID vaccine — on its home turf.

French biotech Valneva will start producing its experimental COVID shot at a plant in Livingston, Scotland , ahead of trials and regulatory approval, the government announced on Thursday.

“By starting manufacturing, we will have a running start at rolling these out as quickly as possible to protect the British public if it receives regulatory approval,” said business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said on Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +3.31% that the Valneva vaccine “will be another vital tool in our fight against the virus if approved.”

His comments came as the European Union faces increasing pressure about the speed of its inoculation program, which has been worsened by drug companies AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.60% and Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE -0.98% both announcing delays in delivery of their vaccines because of production issues at European plants.

German health minister Jens Spahn said the country is likely to face a shortage of vaccine until April, as he called for a vaccination summit to look for ways of accelerating the rollout in the bloc.

“We will still have at least 10 tough weeks with a shortage,” he said in a tweet on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Madrid’s health authorities said on Wednesday that they have suspended COVID vaccinations this week and next as they are running out of shots.

“Unfortunately, as we suspected the pace of deliveries was interrupted,” Madrid’s deputy regional president Ignacio Aguado told reporters, adding that the region has vaccinated 180,000 people since the campaign started.

By contrast, more than 7.1 million people across the U.K. have now had a least one dose of either the AstraZeneca–Oxford vaccine, or the shot made by German biotech BioNTech /zigman2/quotes/222361179/delayed XE:22UA -1.36% and its U.S. partner Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/203243414/delayed UK:0Q1N -1.61% .  

/zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 77.06
+2.47 +3.31%
Volume: 35.32M
Feb. 26, 2021 7:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$61.51 billion
Rev. per Employee
$675,700
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
6,987.00 p
+42.00 +0.60%
Volume: 599,808
March 1, 2021 2:10p
P/E Ratio
36.88
Dividend Yield
2.96%
Market Cap
£91.17 billion
Rev. per Employee
£272,751
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 33.49
-0.33 -0.98%
Volume: 41.46M
Feb. 26, 2021 7:00p
P/E Ratio
19.58
Dividend Yield
4.66%
Market Cap
$186.79 billion
Rev. per Employee
$533,860
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/222361179/delayed
XE : Germany: Xetra
90.86
-1.25 -1.36%
Volume: 23,856
March 1, 2021 3:10p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
€21.63 billion
Rev. per Employee
€82,892
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203243414/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
$ 33.55
-0.55 -1.61%
Volume: 4,296
Feb. 26, 2021 4:35p
P/E Ratio
19.62
Dividend Yield
4.65%
Market Cap
$186.79 billion
Rev. per Employee
$533,860
loading...
1 2
This Story has 0 Comments
Be the first to comment
More News In
Economy & Politics

Story Conversation

Commenting FAQs »

Partner Center

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.