Following the arrival of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria, it is important to know why it is not recommended for those who have reached the age of 65 years and above.
According to Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended for persons who have reached 65 and older due to “the insufficiency of evidence of efficacy in this age group at this time.”
The two-dose vaccine was approved for use in individuals aged 18 years and above (including seniors) but while signing off on it last week, Health Canada noted that “the results were too limited to allow a reliable estimate of vaccine efficacy in individuals 65 years of age and older.”
Speaking further, Health Canada said, “Efficacy in this age group will be updated as additional data become available from currently ongoing trials.”
It had been stated by Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro on Monday that the provincial government would not give the AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone older than 65.
“How that’s going to change the administration of those who are in Phase 2 is still to be determined”, he said to reporters. “We will be making those decisions and announcing them fairly soon.”
Other nations have also decided not to administer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to those over the age of 65, citing the limited data of its efficacy based on the small number of people over 65 who took part in the clinical trials.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s food and drug standard regulatory body, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) approved Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in Nigeria.
The agency’s Director-General, Dr Mojisola Adeyeye in a press briefing with newsmen in Abuja, Thursday gave a nod to the vaccine use. There was no mention of the caution for people aged 65 and above by the agency.