SAGE recommendations came amid concerns over the shot’s effectiveness against a new variant first detected in South Africa.
A World Health Organization panel of experts has recommended the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in settings where variants of the coronavirus are circulating.
The announcement on Wednesday came days after a small-scale and limited study showed that the jab had a far lower efficacy against mild and moderate diseases caused by a new variant first detected in South Africa.
“Even if there is a reduction in the possibility of these vaccines having a full impact in [their] protection capacity, there is no reason not to use the AstraZeneca vaccine” to reduce the level of severe disease in a country’s population, said Alejandro Cravioto, chairman of the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE).
Presenting its interim recommendations over the use of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and drugmaker AstraZeneca, the panel also said the shot could be used “in persons aged 65 years and older”.
Several European countries have expressed reservations about the vaccine’s efficacy on older people and said they would not administer it to over-65s.
More to follow…