Just how effective is the Oxford coronavirus vaccine for the over-65s? | David Spiegelhalter and Anthony Masters

Behind the numbers: why some European countries have called into question the AstraZeneca jab

While the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency have both approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for all adults, Germany, France and six other European nations have recommended it only for those under 65, Belgium and Italy for people under 55 and Switzerland for nobody at all. Why are different regulators making different decisions?

The problem is the relevant trials recruited only 660 subjects aged 65 or over: 6% of participants. It is inevitable some groups are under-represented in studies; the Pfizer trials included only 4% with Asian ethnicity; nobody over 89 took part. But to have so few from those at highest risk from Covid-19 is unfortunate, to put it mildly.

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