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UK authorizes Omicron vaccine

August 15, 2022

The UK has become the first country in the world to authorize an Omicron vaccination.

The UK has become the first country in the world to authorize an omicron vaccination. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the new Covid vaccine for use today, Monday. It is expected that the Autumn booster campaign will use an updated version of the Moderna jab to tackle the Covid variant.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the new Covid vaccine for use today, Monday.

It is expected that the Autumn booster campaign will use an updated version of the Moderna jab to tackle the Covid variant.

Moderna said it could supply doses in the next few weeks, but exactly who will get them has yet to be announced.

All over-50s and people in high-risk groups in the UK will be offered some form of booster from next month.

The original vaccines used in the pandemic were designed to train the body to fight the first form of the virus that emerged in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019.

However, the virus has since mutated substantially, with a stream of new variants emerging that can dodge some immune defences, causing large surges in cases around the world.

Moderna’s vaccine targets both the original strain and the first Omicron variant (BA.1), which emerged last winter. It is known as a bivalent vaccine as it takes aim at two forms of Covid.

The results of experiments on 437 people showed that the updated vaccine was safe and gave better immune protection against newer variants.

Levels of antibodies that were able to stick to and disable Omicron (BA.1) were higher in people given the new vaccine. Tests against more recent Omicron variants (BA.4 and BA.5), which are causing the UK’s current wave, also showed higher levels of protection with the updated vaccine.

However, while there is better protection against known variants, it is uncertain what we will be facing in the coming months and exactly how well the updated vaccine will perform.

The MHRA has now considered the evidence and given the vaccine approval for use in adults.

Around 26 million people will be eligible for an autumn booster. Moderna says it will be able to supply 13 million doses by the end of the year.

Related: Concern as new Covid subvariant emerges

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