AstraZeneca's shot gets the nod from a panel of expertsA Korean panel of experts has said that vaccines for the novel coronavirus made by AstraZeneca can be administered to people over the age of 65 amid efficacy controversies, according to the country's drug safety agency Monday.
The independent advisory board announced its review on efficacy and safety of the vaccines developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company and Oxford University, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
The experts said the AstraZeneca vaccine's efficacy is similar among people aged between 18 and 64, and those aged 65 and older, noting no serious side effects were found in both groups.'
The panel advised the ministry to approve the two full-dose regimen on condition that AstraZeneca submits further data on clinical trials currently under way in the United States and final reports.
Controversies arose globally on the use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine for the elderly 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 in people 18 and over.
The local panel's review also showed that AstraZeneca's vaccine efficacy rate came to 62 percent among all test subjects, higher than a 50 percent efficacy rate released by the World Health Organization.
The experts detected two cases of severe abnormal reaction, but the number is within a permissible level, the ministry said. The experts, however, advised further monitoring of such cases following the approval.
Korea has so far secured 10 million doses of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccines for the country's population of 52 million.
Of the total, doses for up to 2.19 million people are expected to be provided in the first half of this year following the ministry's approval, which is expected later this month. Yonhap