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The use of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 for people over 18 years of age has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The EU’s drug regulator said the AstraZeneca vaccine was about 60% effective in the experiments on which it made its decision.
The move comes amid a dispute over whether the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker is violating its commitments to supply vaccines to the EU.
The European Commission has published its contract with Astra-Zeneca, hoping to show a breach.
Last week, AstraZeneca said vaccine supplies would be cut due to problems at one of its factories in the EU.
The shortage is expected to be around 60% in the first quarter of 2021. The EU has also received less than expected doses from the other two vaccines it has approved – from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
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The EU has said that AstraZeneca must meet its commitments and deliver the doses ordered by diverting the doses produced in the United Kingdom. However, the company said its UK supply contract prevented this.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen told German radio on January 29th that the EU treaty, signed in August, contained “binding orders” and called for an explanation.
The commission later said it had adopted a plan to introduce controls on coronavirus vaccine exports. This means that individual Member States will decide whether to allow the export of vaccines produced in their territory. It will be in place by the end of March.
The European Commissioner said it was being introduced to increase transparency and ensure that all EU citizens have access to vaccines.
The German Vaccine Commission said this week that it could not recommend the use of AstraZeneca in people over the age of 65, citing a lack of data on how it affected this age group.
The United Kingdom has been using the AstraZeneca vaccine in its mass immunization program for weeks, and public health officials say it is safe and provides “high levels of protection”.
Confirming that it had approved the vaccine, the EMA said most test participants were between the ages of 18 and 55. It says that although there are still not enough results to show how the vaccine will work in the elderly, “protection is expected, given that the immune response is seen in this age group and based on experience. with other vaccines’.
Individual EU countries can still decide who to give vaccines once they are approved.