DUBLIN, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Ireland does not currently plan to give the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca to people over the age of 65, the country’s health service said on Wednesday.
France, Belgium and Germany are among other European Union countries that have recommended against using the shot on people over 65 years old because of a lack of sufficient data for that age group.
Ireland will instead give rival mRNA vaccines by Pfizer , BioNTech and Moderna to those over 65, the Chief Clinical Officer of Ireland’s Health Service Executive Colm Henry told RTE radio.
The decision is based on evidence received from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Ireland’s National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), but could change as more evidence emerges, Henry said.
“Based on the evidence we’re getting through from the EMA and NIAC, at this point in time - based on what we know now which is always changing - it is preferred for us to give the mRNA vaccines to older age groups,” Henry said.
Representatives of AstraZeneca and the Oxford Vaccine Group earlier on Wednesday defended their vaccine, saying evidence shows the shot works well for older adults.
Britain’s health minister on Wednesday defended the country’s vaccine roll-out strategy after scepticism emerged in Europe, saying the science supported a decision to give the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot to all age groups. (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Jan Harvey)