Sweden joins countries not recommending AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for seniors

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STOCKHOLM, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should not be used to inoculate people aged 65 and up, the Swedish Public Health Agency said on Tuesday.

"The European Medicines Agency believes that there is not enough data," Soren Andersson, unit manager at the Public Health Agency, told national public television SVT News.

Sweden thereby joins a growing number of European countries that have made similar announcements since German experts last week voiced concerns regarding the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine in older people.

Available data do not suggest the vaccine could be harmful to the elderly, but it is more rational to administer it to age groups where its efficacy has been proven, he said.

New clinical trials involving more seniors are underway and the results are expected in April. Depending on the findings, the Public Health Agency may change its recommendation.

According to the agency's statistics, 256,978 Swedes have received at least the first dose of vaccine as of Tuesday, nearly 27,000 more than before the weekend. These include 28,279 people who have received two doses, 9,400 more than Friday's figure.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in many European countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 237 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 63 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan. 29. Enditem

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