The European Union’s drug regulator recommended use of a Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca PLC, but the approval is unlikely to quell growing political furor over its effectiveness, production problems and availability.
Friday’s announcement from the European Medicines Agency, endorsing the vaccine’s use in people 18 and older, advances a shot that EU officials have considered critical in turning the tide of the pandemic in the region. But an EMA warning the shot hasn’t been sufficiently tested in people over 55 adds to manufacturing woes dogging the project and prompted fresh attacks.
Some Europeans—even high officials—have interpreted the lack of data as meaning the vaccine isn’t effective.
“The real problem with AstraZeneca is that it hasn’t worked the way we expected. Because we’ve had very little information,” said French President Emmanuel Macron shortly before the EMA announcement. So far, he said, “everything seems to indicate that it’s quasi ineffective for people older than 65 years old, some say 60 years and above.”
Mr. Macron didn’t indicate how he drew that conclusion, and there is no publicly released data to support that.