EuropeInternational Organizations and ClubsNewssliderSpain

A Guidepost Report

There’s been a lot of confusion and not a little frustration lately among Spaniards when they learned – they’re just learning – from the media that the AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered to people between the ages of 18 and 55. Previously, they were led to believe, and expected accordingly, that topping the priority list of vaccine recipients are frontline health workers and the 80-and-above elderly. People took it for granted that this was true for all three vaccines that have a conditional marketing authorization (CMA) in the European Union.

It must be remembered that the first two COVID-19 vaccines with a CMA are those developed by Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna.  AstraZeneca is the third, having received the CMA on 29 January 2021.

AstraZeneca COVID 19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford. “Most of the participants in the studies [conducted by AstraZeneca] were between 18 and 55 years old.”

On the same day AstraZeneca received the CMA, the European Commission issued a press release saying “the AstraZeneca vaccine will be given to adults aged 18 years and older for preventing COVID-19. The vaccine causes the immune system (the body’s natural defences) to produce antibodies and specialised white blood cells that work against the virus, so giving protection against COVID-19. People vaccinated will receive two injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

However, the Commission notes in the same press release that “according to EMA, most of the participants in the studies [conducted by AstraZeneca] were between 18 and 55 years old. There are not yet enough results in older participants (over 55 years old) to provide a figure for how well the vaccine will work in this group.”

Not enough data to show the AstraZeneca vaccine works just as well for the over-55s

It seems obvious that the above is where all the confusion has emanated. First, it is said that the vaccine is for “adults aged 18 years and older”. Only to qualify the statement with there being insufficient data about how well the vaccine will work among people older than 55.

The Commission’s press release goes on to say that “EMA’s scientific experts considered that the vaccine can be used in older adults.”

The question is, how well will it work?

Inconclusively, the Commission states that “more information is expected from ongoing studies, which include a higher proportion of elderly participants.”

Source: “European Commission authorises third safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19”. Boldface supplied.


>Featured image/l’Ecole publique de journalisme de Tours,  via Flickr. PD
>AstraZeneca COVID 19 vaccine/Marco Verch Professional Photographer’s photostream, CC BY2.0 via Flickr
Elderly men/Gabriel Rocha, CC BY2.0 via Flickr. Cropped.