UK Approves First COVID Booster That Targets Two Variants

Britain is the first country to approve a newly-updated COVID vaccine that targets both the original coronavirus and the newer Omicron variant which became the dominant strain last winter.
(stock image via Depositphotos)

Britain is the first country to approve a newly-updated COVID booster that targets both the original coronavirus and the newer Omicron variant which became the dominant strain last winter.

From the New York Times:

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

In the United States, Moderna said in late July that the government had secured 66 million doses of a vaccine it was developing that targets the virus that circulated in 2020 and the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

The Biden administration expects to begin a Covid-19 booster campaign next month with updated vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna targeting new variants, according to people familiar with the deliberations. Officials decided to delay expanded eligibility for second boosters of existing vaccines this summer because the new formulations were close to being ready.

Read the full report here.

Moderna’s chief medical officer, Dr Paul Burton, has stated that the new jab (known as a ‘bivalent’ vaccine because it targets two variants) can boost a person’s antibodies to such high levels that it may only be needed annually.

Related: Risk of COVID Reinfection From New Variant Grows

Britain a much higher vaccination rate – 76 percent fully vaccinated – when compared to the U.S. where currently 67 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Only 32 percent of Americans have stepped up for a booster shot.

Only Americans 50 and over (plus some folks 12 and older with specific immune deficiencies) are eligible to get a second booster at this time.

A recent paper in the medical journal Lancet suggested that COVID-19 vaccines have prevented up to 20 million deaths in the first year of use.