Pressed by the slowness of its vaccination and encouraged by the results obtained in the United Kingdom, France reversed the decision not to use the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine in those over 65 years of age. The immunizer is the main part of the federal government’s vaccination program in Brazil, where it is used without age restriction.
The immunizer had previously been approved without age restriction by the European Union regulatory agency (EMA), but dozens of countries have limited its use due to lack of data on its effect in the elderly. French President Emmanuel Macron went so far as to say that the vaccine seemed “almost ineffective” in the older age groups, which caused a wave of rejection in France and the risk of waste of the Oxford product.
In an effort to reverse confidence, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, allowed himself to be photographed receiving a dose from the immunizer. In the second (1st), he announced that the immunizer would start to be used in people aged 65 to 74.
Doubts about the Oxford vaccine began to fade with the publication of vaccination results in Scotland and England, where the product has been used in the elderly since December. In the press release in which it also recommended use for those over 65, published on Tuesday (2), the French High Authority for Health (HAS) qualifies the preliminary data from the Scottish study as “encouraging”.
The figures recently released by the British government were in the same direction and also indicated greater protection of the Oxford vaccine, compared to that of Pfizer.
According to data from the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) on Tuesday, France has so far only used 138,000 of the 1.2 million doses it has received of the Oxford vaccine. In total, the country is also one of the least advanced in terms of vaccination, with 63.7% of the doses used to date and 9.6 injections administered per 100 inhabitants.
By way of comparison, Germany – which is also criticized for its slowness – applied 12.2 doses per 100 inhabitants and used 67.8% of its stocks. The German government is retaining its decision not to administer the Oxford vaccine to the elderly.