Oxford University has said that its coronavirus vaccine has been shown to be both effective and safe among older people, a key target group for any immunisation programme.

The Phase 2 results of the vaccine, being developed together with AstraZeneca, show the vaccine to be as effective among those aged 56 and over as it is among adults aged 18 to 55.

Published in The Lancet on Thursday, the results were described as “promising” by the University.

“Immune responses from vaccines are often lessened in older adults because the immune system gradually deteriorates with age, which also leaves older adults more susceptible to infections,” according to lead author, Professor Andrew Pollard from the University.

“As a result, it is crucial that COVID-19 vaccines are tested in this group who are also a priority group for immunisation.”

Stage 3 trials have already started.