• Monday, Oct 18, 2021
  • Last Update : 03:31 am

EMA: AstraZeneca shots should be halted for over-60s

  • Published at 01:25 am June 14th, 2021
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during the mass vaccination program for transportations workers at Kampung Rambutan bus station in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 11, 2021 Reuters

The European Medicines Agency's (EMA) position is that the AstraZeneca shot is safe and can be used for all age groups over 18. However several European Union member states have restricted its use to those in the age range 50 to 65, due to rare cases of blood clotting, mainly among young people

Countries should avoid giving the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to people over 60 in addition to younger age groups, the head of the EU drug regulator's Covid-19 task force was quoted yesterday as saying, amid fears over rare blood clotting and as alternative vaccines become available.

The European Medicines Agency's (EMA) position is that the AstraZeneca shot is safe and can be used for all age groups over 18. However several European Union member states have restricted its use to those in the age range 50 to 65, due to rare cases of blood clotting, mainly among young people.

“In a pandemic context, our position was and is that the risk-benefit ratio remains favourable for all age groups,”Covid-19 task force chief Marco Cavaleri told the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

However, Cavaleri said that as the number of Covid-19 cases is falling and taking into account that the younger population is less exposed to Covid-19 related risks, it could be better to use vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, such as Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, on the younger population.

Asked whether health authorities should also avoid giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged over 60, Cavaleri said: "Yes, and many countries, such as France and Germany, are considering it in the light of greater availability of mRNA vaccines."

Earlier this week the Italian government said it would restrict the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged over 60, after a teenager who had received the shot died from a rare form of blood clotting.

Italian Health minister Roberto Speranza told reporters on Sunday that Italy will continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine on the over 60s, including those who have not received a first jab.

Like many European countries, Italy briefly halted AstraZeneca inoculations in March over concerns about the rare blood clotting problems.

Coronavirus toll

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 3,797,342 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP yesterday.

At least 175,567,730 cases of coronavirus have been registered.

On Saturday, 11,133 new deaths and 386,822 new cases were recorded worldwide.

Based on latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were India with 3,303, followed by Brazil with 2,037 and Colombia with 577.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 599,672 deaths from 33,457,424 cases.

After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 486,272 deaths from 17,374,818 cases, India with 370,384 deaths from 29,439,989 cases, Mexico with 230,095 deaths from 2,452,469 cases, and Peru with 188,443 deaths from 2,001,059 cases.

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