İrem UZUN -TDO- France’s national health body declined to recommend giving AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people age 65 and over, the latest European country to suggest limits on its use.  “The data currently available for people aged 65 years or over is limited by a small sample size and doesn’t allow conclusions on the safety and efficacy” in that group, the National Authority for Health said in a statement on Tuesday.

The European Medicines Agency has licensed the AstraZeneca vaccine for use on all age groups, but health regulators in Germany, Sweden and Austria have cleared it only for 18-65-years old, saying there is not enough data to prove its efficiency for the over 65s. The French medical body Haute Autorité de santé on Tuesday followed their lead, recommending it only for under 65s. 

The age controversy compounds a row over a shortfall in deliveries from AstraZeneca that has forced the EU to recalibrate its vaccination strategy.  The EU Commission said the firm had been able to guarantee just 25 percent of the more than 100 million doses promised, but on Sunday officials said the number would be boosted to 40 million.

French president Emmanuel Macron was on Tuesday evening holding an emergency meeting with vaccine producers and laboratories in France. The object of the meeting was to "take stock of the current state of vaccine production capacity" at the French and European levels and to "call for this capacity to be maximized in the short term" in order to "increase it rapidly and significantly", the president's office said.

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