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WHO says AstraZeneca vaccine can be used in all adults

Global health leaders have said the jab can be given to all adults, despite a number of countries opting not to give it to over 65s.

Image: PA

SCIENTISTS ADVISING THE World Health Organisation (WHO) have recommended the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in all adults.

WHO scientists have issued interim recommendations on the vaccine, saying that the jab could be given people aged 18 and above “without an upper age limit”.

It comes after a number of countries have opted not to give the jab to those over the age of 65.

The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation also said that the jab should be given in two doses – with the second dose delivered between four and 12 weeks after the first.

But Dr Alejandro Cravioto, chairman of the advisory group, told a press briefing that the window of eight to 12 weeks was “the best time” to give a second dose because the delay produces a “much better immune response”.

He said: “We had a long review of the evidence, talked to the experts and the people who are directly involved with a trial.

“Based on the current evidence, Sage recommends that these vaccines should be administered in two doses of half a millilitre each with an interval of between four and 12 weeks between the first and the second dose.”

He added: “In the case of the data coming from clinical trials, we have seen that there was a small participation of people over 65 years of age.

“However, the results of the efficacy estimate for persons up to 65 and older, had a wide confidence interval. And therefore we feel that the response of this group cannot be any different to groups that are of a younger age.

“Since we have identified people over 65 was one of our priority groups in the prioritisation roadmap… looking at the safety and immunogenicity data… we recommend for the vaccine to be used in people 18 years and above, without an upper age limit.

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“That means people over 65 years of age should be given the vaccination.”

The Oxford jab is an important vaccine for the global supply.

The jab is easier to transport than some of the other Covid-19 jabs because it does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures.

Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it has not received an application for authorisation of the Sputnik V vaccine developed in Russia, despite reports stating the opposite.

The developers have received scientific advice from EMA providing them with the latest regulatory and scientific guidance for the development of their vaccine. 

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