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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Vaccine approved but efficacy in over 65s still unclear

Australia’s medical regulator has approved the Oxford University-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for use in Australia but says trials have not proven the efficacy of the vaccine in over 65s.

It’s the second vaccine to be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) after it gave the green light to the Pfizer vaccine last month.

In a statement, the TGA said people over 65 had “demonstrated a strong immune response” to the vaccine, adding that there were not enough people infected by COVID-19 in the clinical trials to determine the overall efficacy for the demographic.

“The decision to immunise an elderly patient should be decided on a case-by-case basis, with consideration of age, co-morbidities and their environment taking into account the benefits of vaccination and potential risks,” it said.

The TGA said the advice was for the AstraZeneca jab to be administered in two doses, 12 weeks apart.

Australia has secured 54 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the majority of the supply to be produced by a Melbourne company.

It’s expected that around a million doses a week will be made available to Australians from the end of March, while the first Pfizer vaccine jabs will begin on February 22.

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