Portugal health authorities recently recommended that AstraZeneca’s (LON:AZN) COVID-19 vaccine not be used for those who are over 65.
South Africa recently paused its deployment of the vaccine over worries that it is ineffective against a variant circulating there.
In addition to Portugal, several European countries have expressed reservations about the vaccine’s efficacy in older populations. France, Norway, Germany, Austria and others have decided to only administer the vaccine to those under 65. Poland has reserved the vaccine for those 60 and under, while Spain and Italy have recommended for recipients under 55.
The reservations of the E.U. nations stems in large from a data shortage. Two patients over 65 in the AstraZeneca trial contracted the virus, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions about its efficacy in that age group. There were 660 patients over 65 in the trial.
Portugal has had 765,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 14,000 deaths.
Portugal has recently been hard hit by the virus, overburdening healthcare systems. Cases recently, however, have been falling.
The country recently received the first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines for 42,300 doses. Portugal has received 387,270 doses of the vaccine from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and 19,200 from Moderna (NYSE:MRNA).
AstraZeneca recently pledged that it would provide the E.U. with an extra 9 million doses of its vaccine to resolve a supply dispute.