Uk News Europe's reluctance to use Oxford/AstraZeneca is needlessly slowing down its roll-out United Kingdom news
PremierLeague-News.Com - The evidence shows that it's both safe and effective, including for over-65s.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! With public vaccination programmes underway around the world, much has been made of the difference in progress between the UK and its European counterparts.While UK authorities have so far administered more than 17 million doses, no other European country has yet vaccinated more than six million people.Fears—and comments by European leaders—about the efficacy or safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in Oxford, may offer a partial explanation.i's opinion newsletter: talking points from todayEmail address is invalidThank you for subscribing!Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription.Reports have surfaced of widespread preference for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in Germany, where just six per cent of the population have received a first dose, compared to 26 per cent here in the UK. Just 150,000 out of 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had reportedly been used there at the end of last week.Although the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the AstraZeneca vaccine on 29 January for all age groups in the EU, Germany’s vaccine commission has said it could not recommend the use of the jab in people aged over 65. In France, President Emmanuel Macron also branded it “quasi-ineffective” for people over 65. Read More The EU’s vaccine shambles lays bare the pitfalls of the centralised European project In Germany, Austria and France, the roll-outs of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been limited to those under 65. In Belgium, the vaccine is only being given to under-55s.Given this muted reception from European authorities, public reservations are to be expected. But how justified are questions about the AstraZeneca vaccine’s efficacy when it comes to different age groups?At fact-checking organisation Full Fact, we first became aware of these reservations back in January, when we debunked a claim in German newspaper Handelsblatt that it was just eight per cent effective among the over-65s, which had been attributed to Germany’s federal government.The Federal Ministry of Health distanced itself from the briefing, but it was followed by a paper from the country’s federal disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which appeared to find the AstraZeneca vaccine was just 6.3 per cent effective among over 65s. Read More I’m a virologist – don’t panic about Oxford Covid vaccine’s effectiveness against the South African variant But as we wrote at the time, the measures for vaccine efficacy are far from straightforward, and this number shouldn’t be taken at face value.Vaccine efficacy is calculated by comparing the number of vaccinated people who catch Covid to the number of unvaccinated people who do.
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.But, in the case of the data examined by the RKI, there were only 660 over-65s in the trial—roughly half of whom were vaccinated and half of whom were not. There was only one infection in each group.With such small sample sizes, the margin of error around that 6.3 per cent figure was enormous, giving you a figure anywhere between 94 per cent effective and 1,405 per cent ineffective—which would essentially represent a 14-fold increase in the recipient’s risk of getting Covid. Clearly, any findings based on sample sizes this small are essentially meaningless. And when presented without proper caveats, headline figures like these can be highly misleading.There has been no indication otherwise that the AstraZeneca jab is either ineffective or unsafe, after several stages of trials.Indeed, in December, research published in the Lancet showed that older adults who received the vaccine showed a similar immune response to younger adults. Two weeks ago, the World Health Organisation officially recommended the Oxford jab for all adults. This week, Sir Patrick Vallance told journalists that “it’s clear AstraZeneca does work… It does work in older people.” And this week, Public Health Scotland reported that the AstraZeneca jab has contributed to a 94 per cent reduction in hospitalisations just four weeks after the first doses were rolled out.At Full Fact, we know that good information can be the difference between life and death. Never has this been truer than during the pandemic.With so much at stake, it’s right that people ask questions, and we wouldn’t expect people to just take our word for it. But the evidence so far, as well as reassurances from public health authorities, has shown the AstraZeneca vaccine is both safe to use and effective, including for over-65s.
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