Should the over 65s receive the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine? Is Data important to Scientific Evidence or Not?
I spoke with my local vaccination centre 2 February 2021 and thanked them for their work including contacting the over 70s in the area by text, letter and telephone. I told them my position (No. Not now) and the centre agreed I can contact them if my view changes. The nurse kindly put my response into the computer.
The Vaccine Boards in Germany, France, Sweden, Poland and Austria have advised their respective governments not to use Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine for over-65s. Italy has recommended not to use Oxford Astra Zeneca for the over 55s.
The EU countries say there is a lack of data on the impact of this vaccine on the over 65s so they cannot recommend the jab to the elderly. These boards state they require the necessary data before their scientists will recommend the jab for the elderly. The UK board gave the go-ahead without requiring the necessary data. One science requires one set of important information and another does not.
These countries urge the use of “preferential use of messenger RNA vaccines in older and/or more frail subjects,” such as the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs.
First jabs for the elderly in the UK were made on 9 December 2020. The UK government and the Oxford Astra Zeneca take the opposite view to these six countries and offer the jab for all ages, including the elderly.
On 3 February, 2021, Astra-Zeneca issued a statement that the vaccine may have a ‘substantial’ effect on reducing transmission of the virus. Results of the Oxford study will be formally published for public scrutiny.
If the UK view proves to be true, then this is welcome news for the elderly and knowing the jab reduces transmission, which reduces the numbers of infected people, currently more than one million in Britain. Currently, the UK has the highest number of deaths per million population from Covid-19 of all 215 countries, according to Worldometer, who collects daily the data.
If the UK government and Oxford Astra Zeneca have rushed to an unwise judgement, then the over 65s will worry.
There seems to be a lack of international support for the UK approach in various countries.
One health website for the elderly stated: “It is important for older people to have access to the information they need to make an informed choice about receiving the vaccine. It will not be compulsory for anyone to receive the vaccine, and older people have as much right as anyone else to make that decision for themselves.”
We will not have heard the last of varying scientific views about the appropriate use of the jab.
Which body of scientists do we trust?
(this section was added to the previous blog
on the importance of good quality facemasks)