The European Commission said it reached an 'important milestone' ahead of anticipated vaccination campaigns in the autumn and winter
The European Commission on Friday approved the adaptation of BionTech-Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine against the new omicron XBB.1 coronavirus subvariant.
"The vaccine is licensed for adults, children and infants older than 6 months... this vaccine is another important milestone in the fight against the disease," the EU executive said in a statement, recalling that this is the third update of the prophylactic.
The update of the vaccine used under the trade name Comirnaty is also expected to "increase the breadth of immunity" against current dominant and emerging variants.
Following guidelines from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), adults and children aged 5 years and older who require vaccination "should receive a single dose, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination history," the Commission added.
The authorisation comes after a "rigorous assessment" by the EMA under the accelerated assessment mechanism to give Member States time to prepare for the autumn-winter vaccination campaign.
The modification of the contract with BioNTech-Pfizer signed in May 2023 ensures that member states will continue to have access to vaccines adapted to the new COVID-19 variants in the coming years, the European executive said in a statement.