Italian official says 'not wrong' to use AstraZeneca vaccine in those up to 65

FILE PHOTO: A man walks outside a tent during preparations to turn the long-term car park at Fiumicino airport into a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination centre, in Rome, Italy, February 5, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

ROME (Reuters) - Administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to those aged up to 65 would not be wrong, given the delays in supplies to Italy, the head of national medicines agency AIFA said on Monday.

When the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the vaccine in January, it said there were not enough results to show how well it worked for those older than 55, though it could still be given to older people.

"The vaccine is indicated for all ages, but considering the lack of doses, it would not be wrong to suggest its use for those up to 65 years of age," AIFA President Giorgio Palu told the daily Corriere della Sera in an interview.

AIFA recommended "preferential use" of the vaccine for those between 18 and 55. But other nations such as France, Germany and Portugal raised the maximum age for vaccine recipients to 65.

In order to avoid a third wave, keep down variants and limit contagion, Palu added that social distancing rules must be followed for the next two to three months, with school and university re-openings pushed back until the situation is better.

(Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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