Last month, the French President said the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine appeared to be "quasi-ineffective" on people older than 65. Mr Macron tol
Last month, the French President said the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine appeared to be “quasi-ineffective” on people older than 65. Mr Macron told a group of reporters: “The real problem with AstraZeneca is that it doesn’t work the way we were expecting it to.
“We’re waiting for the EMA [European Medicines Agency] results, but today everything points to thinking it is quasi-ineffective on people older than 65, some say those 60 years or older.”
On the same day, the EMA gave the vaccine the green light. It said: “There are not yet enough results in older participants (over 55 years old) to provide a figure for how well the vaccine will work in this group.
“However, protection is expected, given that an immune response is seen in this age group and based on experience with other vaccines; as there is reliable information on safety in this population, EMA’s scientific experts considered that the vaccine can be used in older adults.”
But according to new research from Scotland, four weeks after receiving the initial dose, the Oxford jab appeared to reduce a person’s risk of hospital admission by up to 94 percent.
As the new data came out, the French President was promptly blasted by policy and data analyst Ben Brittain.
He wrote on Twitter: “Data to shame and embarrass Macron and all those that rubbished AstraZeneca.
“Their smear campaign has led to this life-saving vaccine being rebuked by the vulnerable and healthcare workers across Europe.
“For absolute shame.”
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The research also showed that people who received the Pfizer jab had a reduction in risk of up to 85 percent between 28 and 34 days after the first dose.
Data for the two jabs combined showed that among people over the age of 80 – who are at high risk of severe disease – the reduction in risk of hospital admission was 81 percent four weeks after the first dose.
The majority of older people in the study – who are among those at highest risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 – were more likely to have had the AstraZeneca jab.
Experts examined COVID-19 hospital admissions in Scotland among people who have had their first jab and compared them to those who had not yet received a vaccine.
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Scientists from the universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Aberdeen, Glasgow and St Andrews and Public Health Scotland (PHS) looked at data on people who had received either the Pfizer/BioNTech jab or the one developed by scientists at the University of Oxford with AstraZeneca.
Scientists said the evidence showed the vaccines were “performing incredibly well” and that they would anticipate seeing similar results around the UK.
But they said that the study did not set out to examine the differences between the two jabs, and stressed that a comparison would not be “fair” because the vaccines had been offered to different populations.
Lead researcher Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute, said: “These results are very encouraging and have given us great reasons to be optimistic for the future.
“We now have national evidence – across an entire country – that vaccination provides protection against COVID-19 hospitalisations.”
He added: “We are overall very, very impressed with both these vaccines.
“When we move beyond trial circumstances you never know what the results are going to be, but this is out in the field and both are performing incredibly well.”
He said that AstraZeneca had “predominantly” been given to the elderly, adding: “At the moment, we don’t have the numbers to do these age-stratified analyses by different vaccine types but we will have those soon.
“But both of these (vaccines) are working spectacularly well, that said, we haven’t done a direct comparison between the two at the moment.”
The researchers examined data between December 8 and February 15.
During this period, 1.14 million vaccines were administered in Scotland – 21 percent of the Scottish population.