Germany will only recommend people over 60 years old get the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19. Bloomberg’s Daniel Schaefer reports:
Germany will change its recommendation on AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine and say it should only be used for women and men older than 60, after new data emerged on potential side effects.
The country’s vaccination commission has drafted a recommendation that the shots only be used for older people but leaves open the possibility to administer it to younger people at a doctor’s discretion, according to a person familiar with the document.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has scheduled a press conference on Tuesday evening to comment on the further use of AstraZeneca, while the commission itself is only expected to make a final decision on Thursday.
The move marks an astonishing about-face after Germany and other European countries first endorsed the use of the shots only for younger people, amid an initial lack of data for those above the age of 60. They later recommended the use for everyone. But earlier this month a number of countries including Germany temporarily suspended the jab before resuming it after the European Union’s drug regulator said it was safe.
The development is a fresh blow for Astra’s vaccine, and another threat to Europe’s inoculation campaign, which has already experienced delays, controversy and political battles.
Germany’s move follows a report from the country’s vaccine agency of a rare brain blood clot in 31 people, nine of whom died. With the exception of two people, all of the cases were women between the ages of 20 and 63. The capital Berlin earlier on Tuesday suspended using Astra’s dose for people under the age of 60.