Britain says confident that Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine works for all ages

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Britain’s health secretary said that new research meant that there was a high degree of confidence that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine works for all ages, after some countries said they would not give it to older age groups.

“We have a high degree of confidence that this vaccine works for all ages,” Matt Hancock told the BBC on Wednesday.

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Britain is working on tightening controls at its borders to stop new variants of COVID-19 entering the country, he said, with details of a plan to make some arrivals quarantine in hotels due to be set out shortly, he added.

The vaccine gives good immune responses in older people, even if there is a lack of data about its exact efficacy, Oxford’s vaccine trial chief Andrew Pollard said on Wednesday.

Asked about a reported comment from French President Emmanuel Macron that the vaccine is “quasi-ineffective” among people over 65, Pollard said, “I don’t understand what that statement means.”

“The point is that we have rather less data in older adults, which is why people have less certainty about the level of protection,” Pollard told BBC radio.

“But we have good immune responses in older adults very similar to younger adults, the protection that we do see is in exactly the same direction, and of a similar magnitude.”

Pollard said different countries would recommend that the shot is used in different contexts after France’s top health body recommended it only given to people under 65, but he pointed out the EU regulator had approved it for all ages.

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