It added that the Permanent Vaccination Authority had recommended extending to a maximum 12 weeks the period between receiving the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca shot on the back of studies showing a longer gap improved its efficacy.
“This is good news for older people who are waiting for a vaccine. They can now be vaccinated more quickly,” the ministry said. “We will shortly issue a regulation implementing both recommendations.”
Germany declined initially to authorise AstraZeneca’s vaccine for those aged above 65, saying there was a lack of evidence from clinical trials confirming its effectiveness on that age cohort.
But growing data showing the AstraZeneca shot’s efficacy among the elderly in Britain has led to a change of heart in Berlin, while France has also eased a ban on administering the shot to people over the age of 65.
The German decision was in line with recommendations by the European Union’s health regulator that the second shot of AstraZeneca’s vaccine be administered between four and 12 weeks after the first.
There was no mention in the health ministry statement of the other main vaccine being administered in Germany, from a partnership between Pfizer and BioNTech . (reuters)