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The Lithuanian government's expert panel on the coronavirus pandemic recommends not limiting the use of AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged under 55 years.
Experts recommend giving AstraZeneca vaccine shots to people over 55
© AFP / Scanpix

According to Ligita Jancoriene, head of the Center for Infectious Diseases at Santaros Clinics, the results of clinical trials show that the AstraZeneca vaccine generates similar immune responses across all adult age groups and provides 100 percent protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

The panel also notes that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved AstraZeneca's vaccine for use in people aged 18 years and over.

"In view of these results and the importance of vaccinating older people at the highest risk in order to reduce COVID-19 mortality, the Council of Experts expressed the view that the AstraZeneca vaccine should be administered to persons (...), including those over 65 years of age," the government's press office said in a press release on Tuesday.

The Health Minister decided to use the country's first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine to vaccinate teachers aged under 55 years. Health Minister Arunas Dulkys is yet to decide on whether to limit the use of the vaccine after other batches arrive.

In late January, the EMA authorized AstraZeneca's vaccine for use in adult citizens of EU member countries. The agency said, however, that "there are not yet enough results in older participants (over 55 years old) to provide a figure for how well the vaccine will work in this group".

The panel also suggests to the health minister to introduce a requirement to administer the second doze of this vaccine 12 weeks after the first doze.

According to the statement, 77 percent of healthcare workers and 72 percent of residents and workers of care establishments have COVID-19 immunity or have been at least partly vaccinated.

BNS
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