France Changes Oxford Vaccine Guidance For Over-65s Amid Faltering EU Rollout

The French government has revised its stance on the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine and will now offer it to people aged over-65.

When the vaccine was approved for use by European Union regulators, France mandated it would only go to eligible people under 65, because it said data from trials in older age groups was limited.

But speaking on Monday, health minister Olivier Véran said this decision was now being reversed. Several other EU countries including Germany are still restricting the jab to those aged under-65.

The move comes as it was revealed the Oxford jab offers 60% to 73% protection against people over 70 getting symptomatic Covid, while the Pfizer vaccine gives between 57% and 61% protection. 

Public Health England said a single shot of either coronavirus vaccine being used in the UK is around 80% effective at preventing hospitalisation among the over-80s.

The rollout of vaccines in many EU countries have been hit by delays and confused messaging about their effectiveness from political leaders.

France, which has a similar population to the UK has administered around 3m first doses of vaccines compared to over 20m in Britain. 

It was also announced that France will retain its current measures aimed at curbing the pandemic, including a nighttime curfew, as a bare minimum for the next four to six weeks.

Other measures now in force include the closure of bars, restaurants and museums, and Olivier Veran said he hoped France would not have to go beyond those measures to rein in the disease.

France’s Covid death toll rose by 375 to 86,803, the seventh-highest death toll globally. This compares with a rise of 122 on Sunday and a seven-day moving average of 313.

At 3.761 million, France’s tally of Covid cases is the sixth highest on the world.

One jab of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine offers 76% protection against Covid-19 for up to three months, a study released on Monday has shown.

The finding is a boost for Britain’s controversial decision to extend the gap between the first and second doses of the vaccine to 12 weeks.

Oxford University said the findings of the pre-print paper show the jab also had a “substantial effect” on reducing transmission of the disease.

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