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Regulator authorizes AstraZeneca vaccine for all adults throughout European Union

Virus Outbreak Europe Vaccines
Posted at 8:12 AM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 11:17:26-05

BERLIN — Regulators have authorized AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for use in adults throughout the European Union, amid criticism the bloc is not moving fast enough to vaccinate its population.

The European Medicines Agency licensed the vaccine Friday to be used in people 18 and over, though concerns had been raised this week that not enough data exists to prove it works in older people.

The shot is the third COVID-19 vaccine given the greenlight by the European Medicines Agency, after ones made by Pfizer and Moderna. Both were authorized for all adults.

The European agency recommends two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine be administered at 4- to 12-week interval. They say the dosing regimen was shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalizations more than 14 days after the second dose.

AstraZeneca says it anticipates the EU will shortly approve a conditional marketing authorization (CMA) for active immunization to begin across member states.

“Today’s recommendation underscores the value of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine which is not only effective and well-tolerated, but also easy to administer and, importantly, protects fully against severe disease and hospitalisations,” said Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, in a statement. “We are deeply grateful to Oxford University, participants in the clinical trials and AstraZeneca colleagues for their unwavering commitment to providing this lifesaving vaccine to millions of Europeans.”

As for in the United States, the nation's public health officials are waiting for further trial data before authorization, The Washington Post reports.