France eases ban on AstraZeneca vaccine for over-65s

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People in France aged over 65 with existing health problems can be given the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, France’s health minister said on Monday, departing from Paris’s earlier stance that the vaccine should be for under-65s only.

When the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use by European Union regulators, France mandated it would only go to eligible people under 65 because data from trials in older age groups was limited.

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French President Emmanuel Macron was quoted as telling journalists the AstraZeneca vaccine was “quasi-effective” for over-65s. That position contrasted with Britain, which was first to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine and approved it for use in all age categories.

Since that decision, more data from trials has shown the efficacy of the vaccine, while France has also struggled with a shortage of vaccines from its other suppliers, Pfizer and Moderna.

Speaking to broadcaster BFMTV, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said: “Anybody aged 50 or over who is affected by co-morbidities can get the AstraZeneca vaccine, including those between 65 and 74.”

People aged 75 and over would continue to get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines only, Veran said.

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