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UK approves a second “bivalent” COVID strain booster for Omicron and the original strain

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Coronavirus. COVID-19. 3D Render
Coronavirus. COVID-19. 3D Render

The Omicron and original strains of COVID-19 are both targets of a second bivalent vaccination that was licenced for use as a booster vaccine by the UK health authorities on Saturday.

The new booster vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech was determined to meet the standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness set forth by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The vaccination against two coronavirus variants has been licenced for use in people 12 years of age and older. Each dosage of the booster vaccine known as Comirnaty bivalent Original/Omicron contains 15 micrograms of vaccine, 15 of which target the original viral strain and 15 of which target Omicron (BA.1).

The UK’s Commission on Human Medicines has approved this decision, which comes after the MHRA last month approved Moderna’s Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron.

“The clinical trial of the Pfizer/BioNTech bivalent vaccine showed a strong immune response against the Omicron BA.1 variant as well as the original strain,” said Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive.

“Bivalent vaccines are helping us to meet the challenge of an ever-evolving virus, to help protect people against COVID-19 variants. We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for all UK-approved COVID-19 vaccines, and this will include the updated booster we approved today,” she said.

The bivalent Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, according to data from a clinical trial, causes a potent immune response against both Omicron and the original strain when given as a booster dose, according to the MHRA. No additional significant safety issues were found, and safety monitoring revealed that the adverse effects observed were the same as those documented for the initial Pfizer/BioNTech booster dose and were often minor and self-resolving.

Care home residents and staff will be among the first people in the globe to receive the new, variant-tackling vaccines starting on Monday, according to the National Health Service’s (NHS) announcement this weekend on the rollout of its autumn vaccine booster programme.

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