Oxford vaccine does protect older people, Europe told


A single Covid vaccine dose gives high levels of protection against severe disease, even in the oldest age groups, more evidence shows.

A study on patients in two Bristol hospitals found both Pfizer BioNTech and Oxford AstraZeneca jabs prevent 80% of hospital admissions among over-80s.

Some European countries are refusing to use the Oxford jab on older groups because of a lack of convincing data.

Lead researcher Prof Adam Finn said the findings should change their minds.

France agreed to offer the vaccine, which is easier to store than the Pfizer jab, to over-65s only recently, while Germany still isn’t doing so.

“This study is much more important for non-UK countries than it is for the UK,” said Prof Finn, who is running the study at the University of Bristol.

In the UK, this age group has now been immunised, he said.

“But there are lots of doses of AstraZenena vaccine available in European countries and they are not being given to people over the age of 65 – in some countries over the age of 55 – for lack of data.

“Well here are the data… showing that you can save lives in elderly people by giving them a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and those countries need to get on and start doing that as fast as possible.”