AstraZeneca rejects “incorrect” claims about COVID-19 vaccine efficacy

pharmafile | January 26, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production AstraZeneca, COVID-19 

AstraZeneca has rejected claims by German media that its COVID-19 vaccine has only 8% efficacy in over-65s.

Two German newspapers, Handelsblatt and Bild, quoted unnamed members of Germany’s government on Monday as saying the jab had a poor efficacy rate among those aged over 65, with the rates cited at under 10% and 8% respectively.

The newspapers also claimed that German government officials didn’t expect the vaccine to be approved for use on over-65s by the EMA as a result of the efficacy findings.

The German government has since said the news reports are incorrect. A spokesperson for the German Health Ministry commented: “At first glance, it appears that two things have been confused in the reports: About 8% of the subjects in the AstraZeneca efficacy study were between 56 and 69 years of age, and only 3 to 4% were over 70 years of age.

“However, this does not infer an efficacy of only 8% in the elderly.”

The government explained that the 8% figure referred to the number of participants aged between 56 and 69 in the study, rather than the efficacy of the jab.

A spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company has said: “Reports that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine efficacy is as low as 8% in adults over 65 years are completely incorrect.

“In the UK, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation supported use in this population and MHRA included this group without dose adjustment in the authorisation for emergency supply.

“In November, we published data in The Lancet demonstrating that older adults showed strong immune responses to the vaccine, with 100% of older adults generating spike-specific antibodies after the second dose.”

The vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University, is yet to be approved for use in the EU.

Darcy Jimenez

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