South Korea’s drug safety agency on Wednesday approved the vaccine for the novel coronavirus by AstraZeneca for all adults, including those aged 65 and older, amid efficacy controversies, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety approved the use of the vaccine developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant and Oxford University following a final review meeting.
The ministry approved AstraZeneca’s two full-dose regimen on the condition that the pharmaceutical firm submit further data on the current phase three clinical trials on adults aged over 18.
Still, the ministry cautioned against inoculating people aged 65 or older with the vaccine, after a separate review panel said earlier that there is not enough data on its efficacy for the age group.
Controversies arose globally on the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for seniors as there is not enough data to back its efficacy in older people. Last week, the European Medicines Agency’s expert committee unanimously recommended the vaccine to be used for people 18 and over.
However, several European countries, including Germany and France, have announced that they will restrict the vaccine to younger people and cautioned against its use for the elderly, citing insufficient data on its efficacy.
AstraZeneca will start delivering the first batch of its COVID-19 vaccine to South Korea in phases from Feb 24 over the following several days.