Countries reserve AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 65

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OSLO | The Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic health authorities announced in turn Thursday that AstraZeneca’s anti-Covid vaccine would be reserved for those under 65, for lack of sufficient data on its effects beyond this age.

The three Nordic states thus adopt the line chosen by several countries of the European Union, but not by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which had approved it for all over 18 years.

Norway and Iceland are not members of the EU but have partnered with them for the validation and provision of anti-Covid vaccines.

At a press conference, the director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Camilla Stoltenberg, explained the imposition of an age limit “not because the vaccine does not work for the elderly but because that the documentation is so limited ”.

In Reykjavik, Icelandic chief epidemiologist Thorolfur Gudnason made the same point.

The health authorities in Germany, France and Sweden have also set the age limit at 65 beyond which the vaccine from the Swedish-British laboratory is not recommended.

In Norway as in Denmark, an exemption will be made among those under 65 years of age for people suffering from underlying conditions and at high risk of developing a severe form of Covid: they will continue to receive messenger RNA vaccines. of the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna groups.

For others to whom AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered, there will be an interval of nine to twelve weeks between the first and second dose injections in Norway and four to twelve weeks in Denmark.

Relatively spared from the pandemic, Norway has one of the lowest incidence rates (average number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days) in Europe, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control ( ECDC).

To date, at least 135,000 people have received a first dose and more than 30,000 a second dose of Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna vaccines in the kingdom of 5.4 million people, which officially hopes to have vaccinated much of the country. adult population by summer.

In Denmark, the EU country with the most advanced vaccination campaign after Malta, 1.68% of 5.8 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated and 3.28% have received a first dose. The country expects to have offered vaccination to its entire adult population by July 4.

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