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Europe allowed to use one more COVID- 19 vaccine; AztraZeneca/Oxford vaccine will be available soon

DUBLIN: The European Union medicines regulator has decided to approve a new vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

The European Medicines Regulator has recommended to member states that AstraZeneca, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University, be distributed to those over 18 years of age.

With this approval, there are three vaccines approved for use in the European Union.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said in a statement that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been shown to be 60% effective in tests to date.

The EMA said it had not yet received sufficient results to determine how well the vaccine would work for people over 55 years of age. However, the report says that immunity to the vaccine is expected and that the vaccine can be given to the elderly.

“With this third positive opinion, we have further expanded the arsenal of vaccines available to EU and EEA member states to combat the pandemic and protect their citizens,” said Emer Cooke, Executive Director of EMA.

More vaccines are needed to speed up the vaccination program in Europe. Vaccines are not currently available in Europe in the quantities previously promised by suppliers such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “This is good news. It means we now have another vaccine in the arsenal. AstraZeneca has met the EMA’s strict criteria. And we will also begin vaccinating the over 85s in the next few weeks.”

AstraZeneca COVID vaccine is easier to store than Pfizer vaccine. It is stored at a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius. Therefore, ordinary refrigerators can be used. But specially equipped refrigerators at 70 degrees will be used to store the Pfizer vaccine.

Oxford-AstraZeneca is reported to be effective against highly contagious corona viruses. The report says that there are fewer side effects and safer than other vaccines.

48 deaths and 1254 new cases

The Department of Health confirmed 48 deaths and 1,254 new cases of the coronavirus yesterday in Ireland.

Of the cases reported yesterday, 587 were men and 658 were women. 54% are among people under the age of 45 and the median age is 42.

437 cases were in Dublin; 146 in Cork; 76 in Meath; 69 in Wexford; 62 in Kildare and the remaining 464 cases are spread across all other counties.

 1,518 patients were hospitalised, of which 211 were in the ICU.

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