German vaccine regulator expects unrestricted EU approval of AstraZeneca's shot

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labelled "vaccine" in front of an AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - The head of Germany’s vaccine regulator expects that the European Union will approve AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine without any age restrictions, he told a news conference on Friday.

The bloc’s drugs regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), is due to issue a recommendation on AstraZeneca’s vaccine, co-developed by Oxford University, later on Friday.

Klaus Cichutek, president of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, said European regulators were in a position to approve the vaccine without restrictions with the warning that the available data for older age groups was weaker.

Health Minister Jens Spahn had previously said he does not expect an unrestricted approval of the shot.

On Thursday, Germany’s expert vaccine committee said AstraZeneca’s vaccine should only be given to people aged 18 to 64.

(This story corrects final paragraph to say .. 18 to 64 ..not.. 18 and 64)

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle and Zuzana Szymanska; writing by Caroline Copley; editing by Thomas Seythal and Hugh Lawson