Rome: The Italian Ministry of Health on Monday issued a decree that lifts the age limit for AstraZaneca’s coronavirus vaccine, approving its use in senior citizens aged 65 and older.
The decision came as the country started to encounter delays and other issues with the deliveries of the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. These disruptions threatened the implementation Italy’s national vaccination schedule.
According to the ministry’s decree, the vaccine may be administered to senior citizens unless they are considered “extremely vulnerable” and have serious health conditions.
The vaccine was initially recommended for use only among people aged between 18 and 55, in line with the recommendation issued by the European Medicines Agency in late January, as data on the vaccine’s impact on senior citizens was insufficient. In mid-February, Italy’s national drug regulator Aifa raised the age limit to 65, given that the recipient does not have health issues.
Italy wants to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its population to achieve herd immunity by the early autumn. So far, over 5.4 million doses have been administered in Italy, while some 1.65 million people have already received both shots. (Sputnik)