AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine Photograph:( AFP )
Spain will receive its first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines this weekend
Spain on Friday set a maximum age limit to receive Astrazeneca's coronavirus vaccine. Now the vaccine will only be administered to those aged 55 and below. Spain has joined the growing list of countries who are restricting the vaccine's use. European Medicines Agency has allowed use of the vaccine for all adults.
"The public health commission, at a meeting on Friday and following scientific evidence, has approved setting as 55 the maximum age for people to get the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19," Spanish health ministry said in a statement.
Spain will receive its first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines this weekend, it added.
Last week, Germany's vaccine authority advised against use of Astrazeneca COVID vaccine for people more than 65 years old. It said that enough data on its effectiveness in the age group was not available.
France followed suit on Tuesday and Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands and Sweden have taken similar steps, while Switzerland has called for "additional studies" and although Italy approved the jab, it recommended using an alternative vaccine for the over-55s.
The Dutch Health Council said Thursday that the vaccine's efficacy in people aged over 55 was unclear because only a small number of that age took part in clinical trials.
The age controversy compounds a row over a shortfall in deliveries from AstraZeneca that has forced the EU to recalibrate its vaccination strategy.
Spain has so far vaccinated just under two million people and plans to have covered 70 per cent of its population by the summer's end, a goal reaffirmed on Wednesday by the government despite shortages and delays in vaccine supplies.
Also on Wednesday, Health Minister Carolina Darias said Spain was "open" to the idea of using Russia's Sputnik V vaccine as long as it was approved by European regulators.