EU Urged to Limit Astra Shot to People Over 60 in Unified Rules

Portugal, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, has written to the bloc’s health ministers proposing a common approach for the use of AstraZeneca Ltd’s Covid-19 vaccine.

In the letter, seen by Bloomberg, the country suggests a joint position that would see the Astra shot limited to people over the age of 60.

“There are many ways through which we can attempt to establish a shared European position and restricting the administration of the AstraZenca vaccine to the same age groups might be a good starting point,” reads the letter, which is signed by Portuguese health minister Marta Temido and dated April 9.

The proposal came after ministers failed to form a united response last week to links between Astra’s Covid-19 vaccine and a rare type of blood clotting.

EU Urged to Limit Astra Shot to People Over 60 in Unified Rules

The letter acknowledges that “going into the meeting, but particularly during its course, member states were deeply divided on what to do.” It goes on to say that “the sensitivity of the matter left many of us frustrated, and this was clear as member states took the floor.”

Despite the risks, the EU drugs regulator –- and its British counterpart –- insisted last Wednesday that the jab’s benefits outweigh the risks and that the shot should remain a vital tool in the pandemic fight.

In response to the safety concerns, Italy followed Germany and France by recommending it only for people over 60, while the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency advised that people under the age of 30 be offered an alternative, if one is available.

The moves to limit the vaccine’s use came just hours after the European Medicines Agency said it found a “strong association” with blood clots. The regulator didn’t issue any guidelines about usage, leaving the implementation up to member states.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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