France approves AstraZeneca vaccine for over-65s

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THE French government has approved AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for older people with pre-existing conditions, revising its stance on the issue.

   “People affected by co-morbidities can be vaccinated with AstraZeneca, including those aged between 65 and 74,” the health minister said.

Last month France approved use of the vaccine for under-65s only, citing lack of data for older people.

  Since then studies have shown the jab is highly effective among the elderly.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is widely used across the UK, but several EU countries are still limiting it to the under-65s, including Germany. The EU drugs regulator has approved it for all adults, but it is up to each member to set its own roll-out policy.

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  In a further development, Canada’s immunisation commission on Monday advised against giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to over-65s, saying clinical trial data for that age group was too limited.

  Speaking on television, French Health Minister Olivier Véran said people with pre-existing conditions – such as high blood pressure or diabetes could get the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from GP surgeries, hospitals and “within days” from pharmacies.

  The policy would apply to those over 50, including those aged 65 to 75, he said.

  Those aged over 75 will still be offered either Pfizer or Moderna jabs in a vaccination centre, he added.

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