Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is not recommending the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine in individuals aged 65 years and older, due to “the insufficiency of evidence of efficacy in this age group at this time,” CTV News reports
However, Health Canada stressed that "there were no safety concerns in this age group in the clinical studies, nor in the large numbers of seniors who have been vaccinated to date in countries that have already authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine and are administering it to people over 65 years of age."
NACI’s new guidance follow the Health Canada approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine (ChAdOx1-S), the first “viral vector” vaccine to be authorized in this country. Specifically, the agency has given the green light to two manufacturers to provide authorized AstraZeneca doses to Canada: one manufactured by AstraZeneca and developed in partnership with Oxford University, and another version developed by the Serum Institute of India and Verity Pharmaceuticals called COVISHIELD.
The two-dose vaccine was approved for use in people 18 years of age and older, including seniors. However, when Health Canada signed off on the new shot last week, it also had noted that of the available clinical trial data: “the results were too limited to allow a reliable estimate of vaccine efficacy in individuals 65 years of age and older.”
Other countries have made the decision to not administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over the age of 65, citing the limited information about its efficacy, based on the small number of people over 65 that participated in clinical trials. Though France has announced it was easing its guidance, permitting people aged 65 and older to receive the vaccine.