WHO officially declares AstraZeneca vaccine 'safe' for over 65s

WHO officially declares AstraZeneca vaccine 'safe' for over 65s

THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) has officially marked the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as safe and 'likely effective' for all, including those over the age of 65.

A new report shows that the AstraZeneca vaccine is 63% effective in preventing Covid-19 symptoms.

This is significantly lower than the efficacy rates of Pfizer and Moderna's vaccine, but a lot higher than had been previously feared.

"Immune responses induced by the vaccine in older persons are well documented and similar to those in other age groups," the WHO report states.

"This suggests it is likely that the vaccine will be found to be efficacious in older persons. The trial data indicates that the vaccine is safe for this age group.

"Taking the totality of available evidence into account, WHO recommends the vaccine for use in persons aged 65 years and older."

Last month, seemingly baseless claims surfaced in Germany that the AstraZeneca vaccine was only 8% effective on the over-65 age group.

As such, a number of European nations decided not to administer the jab to the elderly, which came as a blow to vaccination programmes around the continent because AstraZeneca's vaccine is more efficient to store and administer than the Pfizer/Moderna alternatives.

Ireland followed the likes of France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Spain, Norway and Hungary by avoiding distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine to the older members of its population.

However, in light of the news, Ireland's vaccination programme could be given a huge boost, as Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan had previously recommended that the AstraZeneca vaccine would not be given to anyone over 70.

The CMO argued that there hadn't been enough research done to confirm the vaccine's efficacy rate, but that no longer appears to be the case.

WHO's report also states that more precise efficacy estimates for those aged over 65 are "expected soon".