European Medicines Agency official suggests abandoning AstraZeneca vaccine

A senior European Medicines Agency (EMA) official said in an interview published Sunday that it would be best to stop administering AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine to all age groups when alternatives are available.

Marco Cavaleri, responsible for vaccination strategy at the EMA, also told Italian newspaper La Stampa that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should preferably be used for people over 60 years of age.

Both viral vector vaccines have been approved by the European regulator for those over 18, but there have been rare reports of blood clots. The European Union has also approved two messenger RNA vaccines, from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

On Saturday, Italy restricted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 60, citing increased health risks for younger people.

Asked whether it would be better to ban AstraZeneca, even for those over 60, Cavaleri said: “Yes, and this is an option that many countries, such as France and Germany, are considering in light of the increased availability of vaccines by messenger RNA”.

However, incidents have been very rare and have occurred after the first dose. It is true that there is less data on the second dose, but in the UK it is going well. [o programa de vacinação]. In young people, the risk of becoming ill is reduced, and the message for them may be to preferentially use messenger RNA vaccines, but the choice is up to each State”, he added.

Cavaleri also considered that Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine presents “less problems than AstraZeneca”, despite having been less used.

With a single dose, it’s useful for some hard-to-reach categories, but it’s better to reserve it for those over 60″, said.

Messenger RNA technology involves injecting cells with genetic instructions so they can produce proteins or “antigens” specific to the new coronavirus. These proteins will be delivered to the immune system, which will then produce antibodies.

“Viral” vaccines, such as those from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, use another virus as a carrier, which is modified to carry genetic information to combat covid-19. Both use a very common type of virus called adenovirus as a carrier.

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