Monday 3/8/21
VACCINATION

Sweden will not give AstraZeneca vaccine to older people

Soren Andersson of the Public Health Agency told a press conference that other countries, among them Germany, have made a similar decision.

29 January 2021, Sri Lanka, Colombo: A health worker prepares a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at The National Hospital Colombo. Photo: Pradeep Dambarage/ZUMA Wire/dpa
A health worker prepares a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Pradeep Dambarage/dpa.

Sweden will for the time being not use the Covid-19 vaccine made by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for the age group 65 years and older, health authorities said on Tuesday.

Data from the British-Swedish company are not sufficient to be able to assess the effectiveness of the vaccination in the age group, the Swedish Public Health Agency said. It noted that more data was pending from a large-scale, late-stage trial in the United States.

Two other approved vaccines, already in use - developed by US-German venture Pfizer/BioNTech and US firm Moderna - would therefore be used for older age groups, the agency added.

Soren Andersson of the Public Health Agency told a press conference that other countries, among them Germany, have made a similar decision.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) last week stated that AstraZeneca's vaccine is safe to use and provides a good immune response.

Vaccine approved

The European Union subsequently approved the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the bloc. Sweden expected its first deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine next week.

Sara Byfors of the Public Health Agency noted that "the trend in terms of a reduced number of new cases in recent weeks was continuing," but test samples suggested an increase in cases linked to a British mutation of the virus, which is particularly contagious.

Sweden, a country of 10.3 million, has now registered 576,000 cases and 11,815 deaths since the pandemic began.

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