German health officials have U-turned on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and recommended it is safe for use on over-65s.
The German health ministry said on Thursday that its independent vaccine committee has now formally approved the COVID-19 jab for use in that age group.
It comes after disproved claims in Europe that the jab was as little as 8% effective among the elderly.
German health officials have also said that delaying the second dose of the Oxford jab by 12 weeks – as the UK is doing – increases its efficacy.
Health minister Jens Spahn said the change in position is “good news for older people who are waiting for a vaccination”. “They will get vaccinated faster,” he added.
Germany had previously claimed that there was not enough reliable efficacy data to allow the AstraZeneca jab to be used on the over-65s.
Other European countries followed, with French President Emmanuel Macron claiming it was “quasi-ineffective” on pensioners.
But this week, France U-turned on its decision and approved it for use on people aged between 65 and 74 with underlying health conditions.
Mr Macron said he would accept the vaccine himself and urged his German counterpart Angela Merkel to do the same.