Currently, both in Latvia and in other European countries, there is a topical discussion about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine against Covid-19 against the Covid-19 age group of the University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical company “AstraZeneca”. According to the professor, the discussion and the opinions expressed should be followed for days, as those who deny the effectiveness of the vaccine are starting to change their initial negative position in recent days.
AstraZeneca vaccine developers included 660 people over the age of 65 and 450 people over the age of 70, among others. In this regard, French President Emmanuel Macron has previously made a public statement that the vaccine is “almost ineffective” and that the results are not encouraging for people over the age of 65. This statement was based on a small study group in this age range.
The UK government and the national medicines regulator completely rejected this claim and disagreed.
However, infidelity was sown, and the news spread among European countries at the speed of light, Croich points out. As a result, many countries, including France, Germany and Austria, did not recommend the vaccine for seniors. These countries recommended the vaccine for those under 65, Poland for those under 60, and Italy for those under 55.
The World Health Organization, the European Medicines Agency, as well as the Latvian State Council for Immunization, based on research, concluded that the vaccine is expected to have an effect after the age of 65. In immune response studies, exposure was observed in all adult age groups. Severe cases of infection and the need for hospitalization were not described. Consequently, those institutions and organizations concluded that there were no grounds for denying access to the vaccine to those people, as the expected benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks of the disease.
Oxford University researchers said in their explanation that the reluctance to use AstraZeneca vaccine in the elderly was due to concerns about its effectiveness. At the same time, the effectiveness of the vaccine is not in doubt, but there are concerns that it has not been sufficiently demonstrated in this age group, so it is more ethical than scientific.
Now, in early March, according to the professor, many countries are already reviewing the treatment of AstraZeneca vaccine in the elderly. “Leaders admit that they don’t really understand how such a situation could have happened. It has been a reproduction of misunderstandings and unverified information,” explains Kroiča.
At the same time, data published on February 22 from the United Kingdom, where 500,000 people were vaccinated, confirm the effectiveness of the vaccine in the over-70 age group, and as a result, the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths has decreased significantly.
In addition, according to the professor, the number of hospitalizations in Scotland fell by 85% in the four weeks following the first Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and by 94% after AstraZeneca.
Because of these data, in Germany, one of the countries in the European Union that questioned the effectiveness of the vaccine in the elderly, the country’s chief immunologist, Professor Karsten Vatzl, urged a change of mind and the introduction of AstraZeneca vaccination for seniors. As a result, it has been decided in Germany to review the previous decision very soon and to start vaccinating people over the age of 65 with AstraZeneca.
The French president is also ready to review what was said some time ago about the low effectiveness of the vaccine for seniors.
Meanwhile, the United States is postponing the issue until April, because other vaccines are currently available and there is no need to use AstraZeneca.
It has already been reported that several European countries have previously decided to set an age limit for the AstraZeneca vaccine and not to use it for the vaccination of the elderly.