UK Covid live: all over-50s to get a vaccine dose by May as extra trial data shows Oxford jab effective in elderly

Latest updates: Cabinet Office says all nine priority cohorts to be reached by May; MHRA says more data shows Oxford vaccine works for over-65s

11.24am GMT

British regulators have received extra trial data from AstraZeneca that supports their view that the Covid-19 vaccine developed with Oxford University is effective in the elderly, a vaccines official said on Friday.

Reuters reports:

Britain has been rolling out the shot among all age groups after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was the first regulator to approve it in December, but some other European countries have said more data is needed before it is given to those over 65.

“Since [initial approval] we’ve seen more data coming through from AstraZeneca as more people are completing the trial, which highlights again that efficacy in the elderly is seen, and there’s no evidence of lack of efficacy,” Munir Pirmohamed, chair of the Commission on Human Medicines Covid-19 Vaccines Benefit Risk Expert Working Group said at a MHRA news briefing.

11.20am GMT

The UK’s medicine regulator has said the “vast majority” of reported side effects from the Covid-19 vaccines are mild and all are in line with most types of vaccine including the seasonal flu vaccine.

Sky News reports:

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said data shows that the safety of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines remains as high as expected from the clinical trial data that supported the approvals.

“The safety profile of the vaccines remains positive and the benefits continue to far outweigh any known side-effects,” it said in a statement.

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