Find Us

UK approves Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID booster targeting Omicron BA.4/5

Pfizer/BioNTech Omicron shot shows immune response against BQ.1.1 subvariant
Pfizer/BioNTech Omicron shot shows immune response against BQ.1.1 subvariant Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters
Published on Updated
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

By Pushkala Aripaka

-Britain's health regulator on Wednesday approved the country's first two-pronged COVID-19 booster targeting the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants and the original coronavirus strain.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the vaccine from Pfizer and partner BioNTech was approved for use as a booster in people 12 years and older after it was found to meet safety, quality and effectiveness standards.

Britain had already approved so-called bivalent vaccines targeting the Omicron BA.1 sub-variant from Pfizer-BioNTech and rival Moderna, but now has added a first against BA.4/5 in its arsenal with the latest authorisation.

The regulator on Wednesday also approved Novavax's COVID-19 shot as a booster for adults.

"All approved COVID booster vaccines help to improve the protection obtained from earlier doses of the vaccine and help give longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19," the MHRA said.

The UK has recorded more than 23 million COVID-19 infections and over 190,000 deaths, the seventh-highest globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with about 150 million vaccine doses having been given by early September for a population of around 67 million.

Omicron sub-variants BA.4/5 dominated the summer and are still behind the majority of infections globally, but newer Omicron sub-variants are gaining ground, with hundreds of them being tracked by scientists, WHO officials said last month.

While existing COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide good protection against hospitalisation and death, vaccine effectiveness has taken a hit as the coronavirus, which originally emerged in China in December 2019, has evolved.

Warnings over a possible "twindemic" of COVID-19 and flu have also been issued by UK officials after the end of restrictions meant increased social contact.

Pfizer and BioNTech last week said their shot tailored to BA.4/5 produced a strong antibody response in older adults than the original shot after one month, and in October said it generated a strong immune response.

Healthcare regulators for the European Union, the United States and Canada had already approved the retooled Pfizer-BioNTech shot last month.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Latest news bulletin | July 20th – Evening

After criticism from Israel, Adidas “revises” sneaker campaign with Bella Hadid

At least thirteen killed in Israeli air strike on two refugee camps in central Gaza