After many rounds, the European Medicines Agency, EMA, finally approved Astra Zeneca's vaccine for use in the EU.

The announcement came on Friday afternoon and shortly afterwards the Swedish Medicines Agency and the Swedish Public Health Agency called for a joint press conference.

During the press conference, questions were raised about the vaccine's protective effect for the elderly.

Astra Zeneca's vaccine has a protective effect of approximately 60 percent, but in previous studies the number of individuals over the age of 55 is very small.

This means that it is not possible to calculate an expected protective effect for the age group.

Recommendation next week

The Swedish Public Health Agency hopes to have the recommendation ready next week.

- It has only been a few hours since the message from EMA and right now we only have the data from EMA and the Medical Products Agency.

We need more details before we can issue a recommendation, says Sören Andersson, head of the Public Health Agency's vaccination program.

"Be prepared"

In Germany, the authorities chose to advise against vaccinating the elderly with the Astra Zeneca vaccine due to the lack of data.

Sören Andersson believes that the Swedish Public Health Agency will make a similar assessment and recommend an upper age limit.

- We were a bit prepared and we have considered something in that direction, but we will see what becomes a sensible and reasonable limit to set.

We hope for better documentation from future studies in, among other places, the USA.

There are no other risks

According to the Medical Products Agency, there are sufficient and reassuring data regarding safety in the age group 55 years and older.

In addition to uncertainties about the protective effect, there should be no other risks, according to the authority.

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EMA chief Emer Cooke participates in today's poetic press conference.

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT, Pieter Stam de Jonge