One of the experts behind the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has responded to France refusing to use the jab for older people.
Germany was among the first nations to claim the vaccine was ineffective for over-65s.
Now France has said it will not approve the AZ vaccine for use in older citizens.
When asked about the decision in France not to approve the vaccine for use in older people, Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford vaccine trial, told the Today programme: “The European Medicines Agency has approved the vaccine for use in all ages in all countries in Europe, the MHRA has approved for all ages, and another 25 or so regulators elsewhere in the world have also approved the vaccine for all ages.
“But individual countries have their own JCVI equivalent committees and they have to look at what vaccines they have available, what they make of the data and what’s best for their population. So, that’s obviously up to them.”
Pressed on comments by French president Emmanuel Macron, who claimed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was “quasi-ineffective” for over-65s, he added: “I don’t understand what the statement means. The point is that we have rather less data in older adults, which is why people have less certainty about the level of protection.
“But we have good immune responses in older adults very similar to younger adults, the protection that we do see is in exactly the same direction and of a similar magnitude to younger adults.
“I think we’re confident that we’re going to see good protection in all age groups, just as global regulators haven taken that view.”
On the effect the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine could have on new variants, Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford vaccine trial, told Sky News: “We’re working very hard to produce some data on the Kent variant, because that has been circulating here in the UK whilst we’ve been running the trial over the last couple of months, so we should have some new data on that fairly soon.
“But I think most scientists are confident that the vaccines will have a good impact against that variant because it hasn’t picked up many mutations that should be avoiding human immune responses, whereas some of the other variants have absolutely been appearing in settings where there’s a need for the virus to escape from human immunity.
“And those are going to be much more difficult to block from transmission.”
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk