It has been authorized on the European market since January 29. And on February 2, the anti-covid vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford became the third vaccine to be available in France. The High Authority of Health (HAS) has indeed issued its opinion giving the green light to the AstraZeneca vaccine, but not for those over 65, for lack of data currently available on its effectiveness in this age group.

Due to the small number of participants aged 65 and over in the trials, it is not possible to conclude on the vaccine efficacy in this population.“thus justifies the HAS in its opinion.

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Health professionals and 50-64 years old

These data will arrive in the coming weeks“explains the president of HAS Dominique Le Guludec.”In the meantime, we recommend its use in those under 65.“, she adds.

In short, the HAS therefore recommends offering this vaccine “whose efficacy and tolerance are satisfactory“(62 to 70% depending on the studies):

  • to all professionals in the health and medico-social sector under the age of 65
  • people aged 50 to 64, starting with those with co-morbidities
  • then, secondly, when the doses are available, to “18-49 years with comorbidities“and to”essential operators and professionals in sectors essential to the functioning of the country“.

RNA vaccine for the elderly

For those over 65, for whom the data is not “not yet robust enough“, the HAS therefore recommends”preferentially“to vaccinate with”a messenger RNA vaccine“, like that of Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna.

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Next step for this vaccine: the opinion of the HAS must be approved by the government. If this is the case, France will join the list of countries which advise against the AstraZeneca vaccine for the elderly and thus take the opposite view of the recommendations of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). These countries already include Germany, Sweden, Poland and Italy.

“10 million doses”

Another question remains: how many doses will AstraZeneca deliver to France? The laboratory has already announced significant delays in deliveries to the European Union but according to Professor Le Guludec, France could receive “about 10 million doses (of this vaccine) over the next three months, which will immunize an additional five million people“.

Because even with restrictions, the arrival of this new vaccine could give a boost to a vaccination campaign that is still struggling to accelerate.

Especially since this vaccine keeps very well in the refrigerator, the HAS has declared itself in favor of vaccination by pharmacists and midwives. On one condition to guarantee its effectiveness: that two doses be administered, with a gap of nine to 12 weeks between the two injections.