Due to lack of sufficient data on its effectiveness on older people, Germany on Thursday recommended the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine only for people aged under 65.
Advising the Government, Germany's Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) said, "Currently there is insufficient data available to assess the efficacy of the vaccine on people who are more than 65 years of age. The vaccine should only be offered to those who are aged between 18 to 64 years" reported BBC.
The UK-based AstraZeneca's vaccine has not been approved yet for general use in the European Union (EU).
But the United Kingdom (UK) has been using the AstraZeneca vaccine in its mass immunisation programme for weeks now, and public health officials say it is safe and provides "high levels of protection".
Reacting to this ongoing situation, University of Oxford's Professor, Andy Pollard said, "The lack of data is understandable. In our trials, older adults were recruited later and because they were recruited later, there has been less time for cases to occur and older adults are known to be more cautious in the pandemic."
"A good immune response has been seen in healthy older adults in the phase 2 study and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency reviewed further data on immune response in the phase 3 trial," added Andy Pollard.
Imperial College London's immunologist, Prof Danny Altmann said, "I am confused by the German stance. When I look at the AstraZeneca phase 3 data for the over 70 years age group, I see a good response which is similar to other age groups."
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said that he was not worried by the German recommendation as British Authorities has made clear that Astrazeneca's vaccine was effective across all age groups.
The German announcement came at a time when the European Union is in dispute with the leading manufacturers over a shortage of vaccines on the continent.