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Germany recommends AstraZeneca COVID vaccine only for people under 65

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Jens Spahn, Federal Minister of Health, takes part in a press conference in Berlin, January 20, 2021.
Jens Spahn, Federal Minister of Health, takes part in a press conference in Berlin, January 20, 2021.   -   Copyright  Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP
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Germany will review the order of its coronavirus vaccine priority list following a recommendation from its vaccine authority not to give the AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals 65 and older.

"We will now have to review the order of vaccination [because] of the age limitations of the AstraZeneca vaccine," said health minister Jens Spahn, according to AFP.

It comes a day after the European Medicines Agency recommended authorising the vaccine for anyone over the age of 18.

Although the EMA said that there were not enough results to demonstrate how effective the vaccine would be in older individuals, they would not restrict it to people under the age of 55 based on "evidence in the trials" and the "safety profile".

Experts at the EMA also said it was also about giving countries options for their populations.

But the German vaccine authority recommended on Friday not to authorise AstraZeneca's vaccine for people aged 65 and over, stating that there was not enough data of the vaccine's effectiveness in the elderly.

Spahn said he wanted to apply the decision of the German experts and that the vaccine would be used in younger people such as care workers.

The decision also comes amid a row between the EU and the pharmaceutical company over whether AstraZeneca has to fulfil its first quarter delivery orders.

Germany has so far vaccinated 1.8 million people. The country has reported 2.2 million COVID cases and more than 56,000 deaths.

Germany is currently under lockdown and recently restricted travel from five countries where more transmissible variants are spreading rapidly.