France eases ban on AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for over 65 years

People in France over the age of 65 with pre-existing health problems can get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the French health minister said on Monday, refraining from Paris’ previous position that the vaccine should only be for those under 65.

When the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for use by European Union regulators, France called for it to be available only to eligible persons under 65 years of age as data from studies in older age groups were limited.

French President Emmanuel Macron was quoted as telling reporters that the AstraZeneca vaccine was “quasi-effective” for people over 65 years of age. This position was in contrast to the United Kingdom, which was the first to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine and approved it for use in all age groups.

Since this decision, more data from trials have shown the vaccine’s effectiveness, while France has also struggled with a shortage of vaccines from its other suppliers, Pfizer and Moderna.

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In a speech to the BFMTV broadcaster, French Health Minister Olivier Véran said: “Anyone aged 50 or over who is affected by comorbidities can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, including those between 65 and 74.”

People aged 75 and older would continue to receive only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Véran said.