EU approves AstraZeneca shot amid shortage

European Union regulators have now approved AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine for people over the age of 18, the third shot to be cleared for use there.

The AstraZeneca vaccine demonstrated an efficacy of around 60% in the trials on which it based its decision, the European Medicines Agency said in a statement.

There were not yet enough results for people over the age of 55 to determine how well the vaccine would work for this group, the agency said.

However, it said protection was expected and that the vaccine can be given to older people.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot welcomed the decision.

The bloc also published its contract with AstraZeneca on Friday (January 29), which said the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker should use facilities in Britain as well as continental Europe to manufacture its vaccines for the EU.

Europe urgently needs more shots to speed up its inoculation program, which lags behind its ex-member Britain, and the United States.

AstraZeneca and other suppliers have cut deliveries, citing production problems.

And the EU has demanded that it uses supplies made in Britain for use in the bloc.

AstraZeneca says it's bound by a separate contract with the British government to fulfil the UK's order before it can export doses there from abroad.