France approves AstraZenece jab for over 65s

Paris, Mar 2 (efe-epa).- France on Tuesday said it would start administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over the age of 65 in view of “very encouraging” results from a trial in Scotland, after it previously said it would not give the jab to elderly people.

The Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS), the French government’s decision-making body, issued an opinion on Tuesday justifying extending the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine “to people over 65 years of age.”

The HAS stressed that the Scottish study on a population of more than 5 million people shows that this vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization “significantly” for all age groups.

On the basis of this opinion, French Health Minister Olivier Véran had already announced on Monday that the AstraZeneca vaccine would also be used for the 65-75 age group.

Véran pointed out that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will continue to be injected for those over 75 years of age. For HAS, however, there is no reason why people over 75 years of age should not be able to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Also based on the results of the trial in Scotland, the French agency recommends that 12 weeks should elapse between the two doses of AstraZeneca.

The HAS confirmed its advice, which has since been taken up by the French government, that people who have been in contact with the virus and have had a positive test should just be given a single dose of vaccine to be fully immunized.

To speed up the vaccination campaign, whose slow pace has been widely criticized in France, it also recommended that the vaccines that are licensed (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca) can be injected by doctors as well as pharmacists, nurses and midwives. EFE-EPA


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