Home / News / World /  Omicron targeted COVID vaccines get EU nod: All you need to know

Two omicron-targeted COVID vaccines received the nod from Europe’s drug regulator ahead of a fresh booster program this fall. The new vaccines have been developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna 

European Medicines Agency on Thursday issued a statement regarding the vaccines that notified, “The two shots, which both target the original coronavirus and the BA.1 subvariant, can be used as boosters for fully vaccinated people aged 12 years and above."

A formal approval and recommendation by the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, is expected later this week.

The agency is expected in the coming weeks to also issue opinions on two other bivalent vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna that target the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, Stella Kyriakides, the EU health commissioner, said in a statement.

Owing to the rising cases and deaths caused by omicron variants, health authorities across the globe are seeking to broaden protection for people. As the virus has mutated it has been able to dodge the immunity from early vaccination and infections caused by earlier strains.

The EMA said Europe wants to have a broad range of adapted vaccines that target different variants so member states “have a plurality of options to meet their needs when they design their vaccination strategies."

The approval of the BA.1 vaccines is a “quantum leap in the fight against the pandemic," said German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, adding that now is the optimal time to close the vaccine gap for the fall. “Now vaccines can be used that work very well against all the known virus variants."

The US has already approved the two firms’ boosters targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 variants. Last month the UK became the first country in the world to clear an omicron targeting shot.

(With inputs from agencies)

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