The World Health Organization (WHO) have advised on Wednesday that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for all adults, including those over the age of 65.
The WHO panel said that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any risks and it is recommended for use.
This comes after government’s in Europe and across other parts of the world have voiced concerns that the jab could be ineffective against the South African variant.
The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation has issued interim recommendations that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine should be given to all adults, without and “upper age limit.”
Dr Alejandro Cravioto, chairman of the advisory group, told a press briefing, “That means people over the age of 65 years of age should be given the vaccination.”
In a joint statement by UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore and the WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that in vaccine race, “we either win together or lose together.”
The joint statement reads, “As of today, almost 130 countries, with 2.5bn people, are yet to administer a single dose.
“This self-defeating strategy will cost lives and livelihoods, give the virus further opportunity to mutate and evade vaccines and will undermine a global economic recovery.”
UNICEF and the WHO are calling on all world leaders to employ a strategy for a vaccine rollout beyond their borders to help end the pandemic.
The statement says to ensure that all vaccine rollouts start in all countries in the first 100 days of this year:
- Governments that have vaccinated their own health workers and populations at highest risk of severe disease share vaccines through COVAX so other countries can do the same.
- The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, and its vaccines pillar COVAX, is fully funded so that financing and technical support is available to lower and middle-income countries for deploying and administering vaccines.
- Vaccine manufacturers allocate the limited vaccine supply equitably; share safety, efficacy and manufacturing data as a priority with WHO for regulatory and policy review; step up and maximise production; and transfer technology to other manufacturers who can help scale the global supply.