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UPDATE 1-German vaccine institute praises efficacy of Astra-Oxford vaccine

14 Jan 2021 / 20:59 H.

    (Adds background, details on PEI, Astra vaccine)

    By Ludwig Burger

    FRANKFURT, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The head of Germany's vaccine regulator on Thursday described the success rate of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine as excellent, after some Australian scientists voiced scepticism about its efficacy.

    Speaking during an online press briefing, the president of Germany's Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), Klaus Cichutek, said there had been some debate over the best usage pattern for the vaccine.

    "Still, the efficacy remains outstanding and excellent," he said, citing data.

    The AstraZeneca shot, co-developed with Oxford University, was shown in a trial to have efficacy of at least 62%, with Britain's healthcare regulator identifying an efficacy of 80% under a certain administration pattern.

    That compares with efficacy of around 95% for vaccines developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech as well as by Moderna.

    Some Australian scientists have proposed delaying mass inoculation using AstraZeneca's vaccine and considering a different shot instead.

    European Union bodies assess and approve COVID-19 vaccines for use in Germany but the PEI is involved in that process, alongside other national member-state agencies.

    Separately, AstraZeneca's Indian partner said on Thursday it expected the World Health Organization to grant emergency approval for the vaccine soon. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger. Editing by Thomas Seythal and Mark Potter)

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