Omicron booster: UK becomes first nation to approve vaccine that targets two Covid-19 variants


An updated version of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Moderna that targets two coronavirus variants (known as a ‘bivalent’ vaccine) was approved today for booster doses for adults by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after it was found to meet UK regulator standards for safety, quality and effectiveness,” it said in an official press release Monday.

Half of the booster, dubbed “Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron,” targets the original coronavirus strain, while the other half targets Omicron, it said.

The UK government said the decision to approve the shot was endorsed by the MHRA, the government’s independent expert scientific advisory body, after careful consideration of the evidence.

It was approved after the results of a clinical trial, in which Moderna reported that the booster targeting Omicron showed a stronger immune response against the variant. The company said the updated booster also showed a “strong” response against the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants.

The side effects were described by the MHRA as being the same as for the original Moderna booster dose and found to be “typically mild and self-resolving.”

“No serious security concerns have been identified,” the British government said in a statement.

As Covid-19 continues to mutate, MHRA Chief Executive Dr. June Raine that the new Moderna booster will help protect communities.

“The first-generation COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives. What this bivalent vaccine gives us is an honed tool in our arsenal to help protect us from this disease while the virus continues to evolve.”

It is not yet clear who will be offered the booster and when. The UK’s Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI) will advise on vaccine roll-out.

Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, said on Twitter, he was “elated” that the vaccine had been approved.

“This is the first approval of an Omicron-containing bivalent vaccine. This bivalent vaccine plays an important role in protecting people in the UK from Covid-19 as we enter the winter months,” he said.

Moderna isn’t the only vaccine maker to update its Covid-19 vaccines.

In June, Pfizer and BioNTech tested two Covid-19 vaccine boosters to target the Omicron variant. The companies said preliminary results show a significantly higher immune response than current Covid-19 shots.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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