Concerns have been raised around Australia’s COVID-19 immunisation program after Germany declared that the Oxford AstraZeneca jab should only be given to people under the age of 65.
As Australia has secured 53.8 million doses of this vaccine, there are questions being raised as Australia has an ageing population.
The independent vaccine commission advised the German government that there was “currently insufficient data available to assess the vaccine efficacy from 65 years of age”.
The commission also recommended that “the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be offered to people aged 18-64 years at each stage”.
The Oxford vaccine is yet to be approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, but trials have found the vaccine to be safe and around 68 per cent effective.
Infectious diseases expert Professor Catherine Bennett told Sunrise she believed Germany was being overly-cautious.
“They are arguing there is insufficient data to have a really precise estimate of the efficacy in the older groups from the trial,” she explained.
“The information coming from the UK where they have rolled this out is that that the vaccine is working, and most importantly, it shows that it is safe.”
The United Kingdom has been using the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he wasn’t concerned by Germany’s decision.
He told reporters the UK’s regulator had “made it very clear” that the Oxford vaccine is “very good and efficacious” and gives a “high degree of protection after just one dose, and even more after two doses”.
“The evidence that they’ve supplied is that they think it is effective across all age groups [and] provides a good immune response across all age groups, so I don’t agree with that [Germany’s recommendation],” he said.
This article originally appeared on Over60.