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Germany approves AstraZeneca vaccine for people 65 & over, EU approves study of Russian vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccines
Posted at 7:26 AM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 10:49:06-05

BERLIN — Germany has approved AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 65 and over, and the European Union has begun a review of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine as the continent seeks new ways to boost its vaccine supply.

Germany’s health minister said Thursday that the country’s independent vaccine committee has formally approved giving the AstraZeneca shot to people aged 65 and over.

Minister Jens Spahn said Thursday that the decision was “good news for older people who are waiting for a vaccination. They will get vaccinated faster.”

The vaccine made by British-Swedish company AstraZeneca is one of three authorized for use in the 27-nation European Union.

But several countries, including Germany, initially restricted it to people aged under 65, or in some cases under 55, citing a lack of data on its effectiveness in older people.

Also on Thursday, the European Medicines Agency says has started a rolling review of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, many months after it was first approved for use in Russia and after dozens of countries around the world have authorized it.

Despite skepticism about Russia’s hasty introduction of the vaccine, which was rolled out before it had completed late-stage trials, the vaccine appears to be safe and effective.

According to a study published in the Lancet, Sputnik V was about 91% effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19.