Canada vaccine committee advises against use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots for 65 years and above

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization released new guidelines on Monday that advise against vaccinating people who are 65 years and older with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, citing lack of information about efficacy in that age group.

The vaccine was authorized for people who are 18 and older by drug regulator Health Canada on Friday. The committee's recommendations are not binding, but may influence provincial vaccination plans.

Health Canada's decision noted that available clinical trial data was too limited to reliably estimate how well the vaccine worked in people 65 and older.

But it also said "emerging real world evidence" in places that had already started using the vaccine suggested a potential benefit and no safety concerns.

A preliminary study of Scotland's vaccination drive published last week suggested AstraZeneca's shot had been highly effective in preventing severe infections there.

In Germany, advice to use the vaccine only for people under 65 has led to low uptake of available doses.

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)