“An updated version of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine that targets two different types of coronavirus (known as the ‘bivalent’ vaccine) for adult booster doses was approved today by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after it was found to meet The British regulator’s standards for safety, quality and efficacy,” an official government statement read on Monday.
She added that half of the booster, called “Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron,” targets the original coronavirus strain while the other half targets Omicron.
The UK government said the decision to grant approval for the shot was supported by the MHRA, the government’s independent scientific advisory body, after carefully reviewing the evidence.
MHRA described the side effects as being similar to the original Moderna booster dose and found them to be “mild and self-curing.”
“No serious safety concerns have been identified,” the British government said in a statement.
“The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK continues to provide important protection against disease and save lives. What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpening tool in our armory to help protect us from this disease as the virus continues to develop.”
It is not yet clear who will be offered the booster drug and when. The British Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) will advise on the launch of the vaccine.
“This represents the first authorization of a bivalent vaccine containing Omicron, this bivalent vaccine plays an important role in protecting people in the UK from Covid-19 as the winter months enter,” he said.
Moderna is not the only vaccine maker updating Covid-19 vaccines.
In June, Pfizer and BioNTech tested two Covid-19 vaccine boosters to target the Omicron variant. The companies said initial results show a much higher immune response than current Covid-19 shots.
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