Germany has slammed reports by one of its major media outlets that the Oxford vaccine was largely ineffective in protecting over-65s, a report that has been rubbished by a spokesperson for AstraZeneca.
Germany spoke through its health ministry insisted that the claims made in German media last night were based on confused analysis of a study into the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
It was reported that doses of the jab given to adults over-65s had been just eight per cent effective. Meanwhile, German health ministry officials explained that the eight per cent actually referred to the number of people in the study between 56 and 69 years old.
An official statement said, “The Federal Ministry of Health cannot confirm current reports about a lower effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“At first glance it seems that two things were confused in the reports: Around eight per cent of the subjects in the AstraZeneca effectiveness study were between 56 and 69 years, only three to four per cent over 70 years (MHRA Approval Public Assessment Report).
“However, this does not indicate efficacy of only eight per cent among older people.”
Health Minister Jens Spahn, however, did not speculate over the Oxford jab’s effectiveness, rather he said, “I think little of speculating about this in headlines.”
And MEP Peter Liese, a registered doctor and member of Angela Merkel’s party, said: “I think this report is exaggerated.”
AstraZeneca through it spokesperson described the reports by Germany’s Handelsblatt and Bild, as ‘completely incorrect’, saying, “Reports that the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine efficacy is as low as eight per cent in adults over 65 years are completely incorrect.”
“In November, we published data in The Lancet demonstrating that older adults showed strong immune responses to the vaccine, with 100 per cent of older adults generating spike-specific antibodies after the second dose,” he added.
It was also reported that the study would influence the EU’s approval of the Oxford vaccine as the European Medicines Agency is yet to issue approval but is expected to make a decision by Friday.
“It was always clear, this had already been discussed in autumn, that there are fewer data for the elderly, which means in the studies fewer elderly were included, were monitored. We don’t know anything else at this moment, the approval agencies will now evaluate the rest,” Mr Spahn added.