France: AstraZeneca vaccine now open to 65-75 year olds

The Swedish-British AstraZeneca vaccine has so far not been recommended for people over 65.

AP - Christophe Ena

Text by: RFI Follow

3 min

The French Minister of Health Olivier Véran announced this Monday, March 1 that the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 would be extended to people aged 65 to 75 years with co-morbidities. 


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Until then not recommended for people over 65, the AstraZeneca vaccine can now be administered to people over 50 years of age suffering from comorbidities.

They can be vaccinated at their doctor's, in the hospital that follows them, and " 

in a few days 

" in a pharmacy.

This rule also applies to 65-75 year olds, said Olivier Véran, guest on France 2.

People aged 75 and over, on the other hand, can still only benefit from Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at the vaccination center.

These two products are based on messenger RNA technology, while that of "AZ" is viral vector, but has the advantage of being cheaper and easier to store.

The government had initially reserved AstraZeneca for all health professionals, including those under 50, and two million people aged 50 to 64 with comorbidity (diabetes, hypertension, history of cancer. ..), who can be vaccinated at general practitioners since last Thursday.

But many caregivers have shunned this vaccine, especially because of more pronounced side effects, most often strong flu-like symptoms, in younger people.

Questions have also emerged about the effectiveness of this serum in countering the South African variant of the coronavirus.

Result: only 270,000 doses of the Swedish-British vaccine, out of 1.6 million available, were administered.

"Remarkable efficiency"

Olivier Véran argued on France 2 that the High Authority for Health (HAS) " 

now considers, since today, that all the vaccines available to us in France, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna, have qualified efficacy remarkable 


In Scotland, a study showed that four weeks after the administration of a first dose, the risk of hospitalization was reduced by 85% with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and by 94% with that of AstraZeneca / Oxford, for example. compared to people who did not receive the vaccine.

Another study, conducted in real conditions in the United Kingdom among the over 70s by Public Health England and published on Monday, shows that Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are " 

highly effective

 " after a first dose, particularly on hospitalizations .

Olivier Véran indicated that the extension of the use of AstraZeneca would make it possible to reach “ 

2.5 million French people


In addition, for those eligible for the RNA vaccine who will produce a positive PCR test " 

at some point in time

 " or a positive serology, " 

one injection will suffice

 " now.

According to the Minister of Health, the quantity of doses released in this way should allow 6 million French people to be vaccinated for the first time in March, for a total of 9 million since the start of the campaign.





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