WHO backs Oxford vaccine ‘even if variants present’


The World Health Organization recommends using the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca even in countries tackling new variants of coronavirus. Some new forms of the virus appear to make vaccines less effective. The WHO also says the vaccine can be used in people aged over 65, which some countries have advised against. Spacing out the two doses, as is happening in the UK, makes the vaccine more effective, it advises. The Oxford vaccine is seen as the “vaccine for the world” as it is cheap, can be mass produced and is stored in a standard fridge. However, it has attracted controversy about its effectiveness against new variants, whether it should be used in the elderly and how far apart the doses should be given, due to a lack of data. The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, known as Sage, has been scrutinising evidence from vaccine trials.(BBC)…[+]