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German ministers call for younger people to be given AstraZeneca vaccine

German ministers call for younger people to be given AstraZeneca vaccine

German ministers call for younger people to be given AstraZeneca vaccine

Three state premiers have called for the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 to be given to all adults in Germany, to stop valuable doses going to waste. Their call came just as Germany’s vaccine commission announced it was considering a U-turn on its recommendation that the jab not be used on those aged over 65. 

Offer AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults, say state premiers

The state premiers for Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Saxony have called for the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to be offered to all adults in Germany, after take-up among the first priority group remained limited. 

The Federal Ministry of Health’s announced last week that only 15 percent of available AstraZeneca doses have so far been used in Germany, partly because the vaccine is not approved for use on patients aged over 65 - who make up the bulk of Germany’s vaccination priority groups - despite EU regulators saying it was safe for all adults.

While health authorities in Germany have been slow at inviting people from lower priority groups to come for appointments, public scepticism has also led many people to shun the vaccine, after a number of media reports suggested it was less effective in older people. This claim has been denied by the manufacturer. 

The state premier of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, told Welt am Sonntag: “The prioritisation is a means of deficient management and should be abolished quickly. We cannot afford to have the vaccine sitting around and not being used because some of those entitled reject it.” Markus Söder, his counterpart in Bavaria, made similar statements, saying to Bild am Sonntag: “Before it is left lying around, vaccinate whoever wants it.” 

German vaccine commission may U-turn on recommendations

Meanwhile, Germany’s vaccine commission is reportedly considering reversing course to recommend the AstraZeneca jab to those aged 65 and over, after a new study confirmed that the vaccine was indeed effective among older patients. Thomas Mertens, head of the STIKO commission, told ZDF on Friday that the commission would “very soon publish a new updated recommendation”, and was just awaiting more results from the study. 

Mertens justified the commission’s initial decision not to recommend the vaccine for use on the elderly due to a lack of conclusive data at the time, but admitted that “it all turned out badly.” “We have never criticised the vaccine,” he said, adding that it was “very good.” 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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