Expert committee to discuss lowering AstraZeneca age cap

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Syringes (photo is illustrative). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Lowering the age limit of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine will be discussed by Estonia's Immunoprophylaxis Expert Committee on Tuesday. Currently, new doses are not being given to the under 60s.

The experts will review data from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on the effect of the vaccine and its potential links to thrombosis and Estonian data on the spread of coronavirus in the country, ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Monday.

Speaking to Delfi news portal on Monday (link in Estonian), committee member professor Irja Lutsar said she would not speculate on the decision as it will be clearer after the committee has discussed the issue.

She said the subject could be discussed now as new data about the vaccine is being published all the time.

Earlier this month, the EMA said there is a very small chance the vaccine is linked to thrombosis but the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. The Estonian government also adopted this view but suspended new doses for the under 60s as these "very rare" blood clots have only been found in people under 60.  

Lutsar said the likelihood of someone over 60 getting a blood clot from the AstraZeneca vaccine is one in a million so there is no reason for older people to worry. Additionally, it is very effective in protecting people from developing a serious case of coronavirus.  

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) told ERR on Monday he supports the age cap being lowered but a decision will be made based on the expert committee's recommendations.  

This week, 67,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in Estonia, approximately 40,000 of these can be used as first doses with the rest being reserved for second doses.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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