The EU’s drugs regulator has approved the use of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for people aged over 18.
The vaccine, co-developed by Oxford University, is the third to be approved by the bloc.
Individual countries can still decide who the vaccines should be given to, once they have been approved.
Earlier this week, Germany’s vaccine commission said it could not recommend the use of the jab in people aged over 65.
It cited a lack of data on how it affected this age group.
The UK has been using the AstraZeneca vaccine in its mass immunisation programme for weeks now, and public health officials say it is safe and provides “high levels of protection”.
Confirming it had approved the vaccine, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that most participants in the test studies were between 18 and 55 years old. It said that while there were not yet enough results to show how the vaccine will work in older people, “protection is expected, given that an immune response is seen in this age group and based on experience with other vaccines.”
The EMA’s move comes amid a continuing dispute over whether Astra-Zeneca is breaking its vaccine delivery commitments to the EU.
The European Commission has published its contract with the Anglo-Swedish drug-maker, hoping to show a breach.
Last week AstraZeneca said vaccine supplies would be reduced because of problems in one of its EU factories.
But the EU said the firm must honour its commitments and deliver the jabs by diverting doses manufactured in the UK. The company has said its contract for UK supplies prevents this.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen told German radio on Friday that the EU contract signed in August contained “binding orders”, and called for an explanation.