The United States is awaiting more experimental data before obtaining permission, and Germany announced on Thursday that it would only recommend the use of the vaccine for adults under the age of 65.
The European Medicines Agency said Friday that although it is not known how well the vaccine will work in the elderly, “protection is to be expected, given that the immune response appears in this age group and on the basis of experience with other vaccines.”
Britain and India allowed it for all adults.
The regulatory decision for Europe comes amid an intense battle between the European Union and the British-Swedish company. AstraZeneca said vaccine delivery to the European Union will drop by as much as 60 percent this quarter, after problems at a manufacturing site in Belgium. The European Union responded with threats of legal action and export controls while demanding to visit the site in question.
European governments are under pressure as they increasingly face coronavirus outbreaks, driven increasingly by the more contagious type of virus first identified in Britain.
The European Union has sought to hedge its bets by ordering multiple vaccines in advance – some say, not enough. It has authorized two others at this point: presentations by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
But the limited supply means that while strict lockdown orders remain in place in many countries, The vaccination campaigns have stopped in certain areas. Less than 2 percent of the European Union’s population of 450 million received injections – and many in that group received only the first dose of two doses.
At a press conference Friday, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said Germany faces “a difficult few weeks” of a vaccine shortage.
“We are living in the biggest crisis since World War II,” he said, but added a note of optimism. This crisis is a challenge for all of us, for science, politics and society. Many people suffer from the current situation and yes, many are also frustrated and frustrated that the vaccine is so rare. “
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said the company is not legally obligated to supply the projected quantity to Europe and is only obligated to make the “best effort” in the contract.
But Brussels wants the company to share the supply from British production sites, Publication of her contract with the pharmaceutical company Friday to the argument that he was obliged to. The contract stipulates that the company must make efforts to manufacture EU vaccines at sites within the European Union and the United Kingdom, and can use other sites if it expedites supply.
So far, AstraZeneca’s supplies to Britain have not been disrupted.
There is clearly an obligation on the company. “There is no doubt about that,” an EU official told reporters about the contract under the basic rules of anonymity.
The European Union’s contract with AstraZeneca is 300 million doses, with an option for another 100 million doses. The vaccine was expected to make up the bulk of European Union supplies in the first quarter of the year.
The bloc has purchased 160 million doses of Moderna, enough to vaccinate 80 million people. Brussels also recently boosted its initial order with Pfizer and BioNTech to allow it to purchase up to 600 million doses.
The medical authority in Europe has given conditional marketing approval to the vaccines, in place of the faster emergency clearance provided by Britain. Its officials say this involves a deeper look into the data.
According to the details of trial data released by the German Vaccination Committee, 1 person out of 341 people over 65 who received the AstraZeneca vaccination has contracted the Coronavirus. There was also one person infected in the control group of 319 people over 65 years of age who had not been given the vaccine.
She said that due to the “small number” of study participants over the age of 65, “no statement can be made about the effectiveness and safety of the elderly.”
AstraZeneca said it considers the vaccine effective in the elderly, as all trial participants showed antibodies after the second dose.
Given restrictions on its use in Germany, Berlin said it will use the 3 million doses of AstraZeneca it expects to receive next month to vaccinate young people in high-priority groups, such as medical workers.
Brussels released more details of its new export controls on Friday, which it says are designed to improve “transparency” about where vaccines produced in the European Union are exported. Europe is particularly upset by investments in Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, as officials insist they see a “fair” return.
Pfizer and BioNTech said earlier this month that deliveries in the first three months of the year will be disrupted as capacity increases at a site in Belgium. Israel, which paid a higher price for Pfizer vaccines than the European Union but also agreed to provide the company with medical data, has not experienced similar delays despite having its vaccines produced in Belgium.
“Our goal at the moment is for all European countries to receive, at the same time, vaccines in proportion to their population. Didier Reynders, the European Union’s chief legal officer, told RTBF on Friday that transparency is necessary, and there is no vaccine war.” Britain may want to start a vaccine war, but we have prepared vaccines for European countries and our partners. “
The regulations mean that pharmaceutical companies will have to fill out a customs form detailing the quantity they want to export, which the customs authorities of the country of production will review.
Some analysts have raised concerns that the controls could affect developing countries, which rely on the cheaper and more easily distributed AstraZeneca vaccine. It is currently unclear to what extent the decrease in yields at the AstraZeneca plant in Belgium will affect countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, which have also placed orders.
There were some indications that the row between Europe and AstraZeneca over supplies could be reduced on Friday, with Spahn saying that a new offer by the company to provide additional doses despite production problems “creates confidence”.
However, Reuters reported that some EU officials are still unhappy with the figure, which falls short of the promised supply.
“What I think is important to see,” Span said. “The road to exit from the pandemic of the century has begun.”
He pointed out that the fact that three vaccines were available in Europe only one year after the outbreak began is “a unique success story in medicine.”
Michael Birnbaum reports from Riga, Latvia. Luisa Beck from Berlin contributed to this report.