Germany’s vaccine commission on Thursday gave the green light for the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for people aged 65 and above.

The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO), which advises the government on the use of jabs, submitted its new recommendation to the Health Ministry, public television ARD reported.

“This is good news for all the elderly who are waiting to be vaccinated. They can be vaccinated faster,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said in a statement.

STIKO’s new recommendation came after new studies showed that the vaccine developed by the Oxford University and the UK-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca offered strong protection also among the elderly.

Last month, Germany’s vaccine commission approved the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine only for people between the ages 18 and 64, stressing that there was no sufficient data available for an assessment of its efficacy for older people.

Germany began administering coronavirus vaccines in December, but its vaccine rollout has been hampered by production delays and logistical problems, increasing pressure on the government.

As of Wednesday, almost 4.4 million people had been administered their first doses of the vaccine, with over 2.2 million people having gotten a second jab, making them fully vaccinated.

Germany has so far administered 7.95 doses per 100 people, and its vaccination rate is far behind other developed countries.

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