Healthcare and frontline workers got priority in the first phase and have recived shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, known as Covishield in India. Now people over 60 and those who are between 45 and 59 but have other illnesses are getting covered by this vaccine.
India launched the first phase of its vaccine drive against COVID-19, the largest such effort in the world, in early January. The second phase of vaccination targeting senior citizens began on March 1.
People in India are getting vaccinated with Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, known as Covishield and India’s homegrown government backed Covaxin, which was given emergency approval earlier this year.
What comes as a matter of serious concern for people in India is the latest news that Germany has taken a U-turn from its policy to only give the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab to younger people and decided to suspend the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in Germany from Wednesday for those under the age of 60. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Health Minister Jens Spahn made this announcement late Tuesday on the advice of the Federal Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) (Merkel and Spahn: No more Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs for under 60s)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at her press conference “We have to be able to trust the vaccines.” She went on to assert that for citizens’ trust it is necessary to ensure that every case is investigated.
Focusing on data from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, which pointed to 31 suspected cases of blood clots in the brain after vaccination with the jab in the 20 to 63 age group and reports of abnormally low platelets, that help blood clot, in 19 cases, and the death of 9 people, Merkel observed, these were “findings that we cannot ignore”.
This week, France and Italy also have blocked AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccines.
Brushing aside the concern in India vis-a-vis AstraZenca/Covishield following the latest decision by Germany, France and Italy, a keen observer told Newsroom24x7: “One is not sure if its Scientific or pure politics between UK-EU-USA, and AstraZeneca. It is important to note that on the other hand EU has asked AstraZeneca to supply more vaccines to them first and export later.”
On being contacted, another person remarked, “Largest vaccination with AstraZenaca has been given in India and no such complaint is there. it is pure European politics”.
Last week on March 25, AstraZeneca in a statement.announced the following:
- 76% vaccine efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19
- 100% efficacy against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation
- 85% efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 in participants aged 65
Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca, said: “The primary analysis is consistent with our previously released interim analysis, and confirms that our COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective in adults, including those aged 65 years and over. We look forward to filing our regulatory submission for Emergency Use Authorization in the US and preparing for the rollout of millions of doses across America.”