UK approves Covid booster vaccine targeting two variants

UK approves Covid booster vaccine targeting two variants
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Britain on Monday became the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine targeting two variants, the original virus and Omicron, the variant that became dominant over the winter.

Half of each dose of Moderna-made vaccine targets the original variant and the other half targets Omicron. In clinical trials, the vaccine, an updated version of Moderna’s original Covid vaccine, generated a good immune response to these two variantsas well as subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 in adults, researchers found.

DR June Raine, chief executive of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, said she was pleased that the new booster vaccine met the regulator’s safety, quality and efficacy standards. The decision was endorsed by Britain’s independent scientific expert body, the Commission for Medicinal Products for Human Use.

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

Side effects were the same as Moderna’s original booster dose and were generally mild, with no serious safety concerns, UK regulators said.

The emergence of highly contagious Omicron subvariants this spring appears to be reducing the protection of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines against Covid hospitalizations, as more vaccinates were hospitalized with Covid than during the winter Omicron surge. But booster shots have boosted people’s level of protection, scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last month. The CDC recommends that people Receive booster shots as soon as they are eligible.

An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration said in June that vaccine manufacturers should crop shots to reflect the latest variants, but it was unclear if those shots would arrive in the United States in time to prevent a surge in falls.

The UK has high vaccination rates overall, with 76 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated and 60 per cent having received an extra dose. For comparison, in the United States, 67 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, and only 32 percent have received an additional dose. Globally, 64 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the New York Times Covid vaccine tracker.

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