EU vaccine war: Now Netherlands bans Oxford jab for over-65s as EU turns on UK firm

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In a letter to health minister Hugo de Jonge, the advisory body also claimed people with a troubled immune system should not receive the Oxford-produced jab. Their recommendation follows a growing list of European regulators that have recommended against using doses of the Anglo-Swedish firm’s vaccine in the older population. It comes despite the EU’s drug watchdog, the European Medicines Agency, giving it the green light for use in all adults across the bloc.

The Gezondheidsraad said the AstraZeneca vaccine should be rapidly administered to people aged between 60 and 64.

In a statement, the health council said the jab was “effective, sufficiently safe and acceptable”.

It added: “It triggers an immune response in older people that is comparable to people aged 18-55”.

But it said advisers could not fully determine the efficacy for people aged 56 and older because there was insufficient data from those age groups in the phase three clinical trial.

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They said there was a greater concern in over-65s “because the immune system begins to function less effectively with age”.

The Netherlands is set to receive delivery of around 11.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of September.

France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and Poland have all advised against use for people over a certain age.

In contrast, Britain has authorised the AstraZeneca jab to be used on all ages.

Despite a number of European countries moving against the AstraZeneca vaccine, its makers continue to defend the jab.

Director Andrew Pollard, of the Oxford Vaccine group, said people should be reassured that the vaccine is safe and producing a “strong immune response” for older people.

He said: “I think the first really important point is that the European Medicines Agency has approved the vaccine for use in all ages in all countries in Europe.

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“Our regulator, the MHRA, has approved for all ages and another 25 or so regulators elsewhere in the world have also approved the vaccine for all ages.

“But individual countries have their own committees, and they have to look at what vaccines they have available, what they make of the data and what’s best for their population. And so that’s obviously up to them.”

The Brussels vaccination effort is desperately lagging behind the British scheme, which got underway three weeks before.

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The EU has managed to only administer around 14 million jabs, at a rate of three percent of its 450-million population.

In comparison, Britain has dished out more than 10 million vaccines across its population, which is seven-times smaller, at a rate of 15 percent.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has accused Britain of putting lives at risk by cutting corners in its rapid roll-out of vaccines. 

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