UK approves Covid booster vaccine targeting two variants

On Monday, Britain became the first country to allow the use of a coronavirus vaccine targeting two variants, the original virus and Omicron, which has become dominant over the winter.

Half of each dose of vaccine produced by Moderna will target the original variant, and the other half will target Omicron. In clinical trials, the vaccine, an updated version of Moderna’s original Covid vaccine, produce a good immune response to these two variantsas well as the adult variables BA.4 and BA.5, the researchers found.

Dr June Raine, chief executive of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said she was pleased the new booster vaccine met the regulator’s standards for safety. quality and efficiency. The decision was confirmed by the UK’s independent expert scientific advisory body, the Medicines for Humans Commission.

Dr Raine said: “The first generation of Covid-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against this disease and save lives. “What this dual-value vaccine gives us is a sharp tool in our arsenal to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve.”

In the United States, Moderna said in late July that the government has secured 66 million The vaccine dose they are developing targets the virus circulating in 2020 and the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5. The Biden administration is expected to begin its campaign to ramp up Covid-19 next month with Vaccine updates from Pfizer and Moderna target new variations, according to people familiar with the considerations. Officials have decided to delay expanded eligibility for a second booster of existing vaccines this summer because the new formulations are almost ready. Currently, only Americans over 50 and those over 12 with certain immune conditions are eligible for a second booster dose.

Moderna said in a statement that it was working with UK health officials to distribute the new vaccine, but it was unclear when the shots would be made available to the public. A UK government official said the health service would provide more details “in due course” on how and when eligible people can access the booster vaccine. Moderna said it has completed regulatory submissions for the vaccine in Australia, Canada and the European Union and expects more licensing decisions in the coming weeks.

Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said in a statement on Monday that the British authorization highlighted “the dedication and leadership of the UK’s public health authorities in helping to end the Covid-19 pandemic.” He added that vaccines have “a vital role to play in protecting people in the UK from Covid-19 as we enter the winter months.”

The emergence of highly contagious sub-strains of the Omicron bacteria this spring appeared to reduce the protection of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines against Covid hospitalizations, with many being vaccinated. Vaccines hospitalized with Covid over them during the winter Omicron wave. However, scientists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said booster shots raised people’s levels of protection last month. CDC recommends everyone Get booster shots as soon as you qualify.

The UK as a whole has a high vaccination rate, with 76% of the population fully vaccinated and 60% having received a booster dose. By comparison, in the United States, 67 percent of the population is fully immunized, but the booster program has stalled, with only 32 percent getting a booster dose. Globally, 64 percent of the population is fully immunized, According to The New York Times’ Covid vaccine tracker.

He accelerates the strengthening program in December to combat the highly contagious Omicron variant. Currently, anyone 16 years of age or older is eligible for a booster shot, apart from some children aged 12 to 15.

Whoever 50 years old and up The UK government said last month it would be eligible for a follow-up dose in the autumn, as would people aged 5 and over who were in a clinical risk group, including pregnant women. Family contacts of immunocompromised individuals, frontline workers and carers will also be eligible. The side effects of the new vaccine are the same as those seen for the initial Moderna booster dose and are usually mild, with no serious safety concerns, UK regulators said.

A UK government spokesman said Moderna’s updated vaccine is only licensed as a booster shot, so people who missed the first two vaccines need to get those. before.

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