UK Approves First Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Vaccine

The shot targets the original variant, along with Omicron

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved a bivalent version of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine that targets both the original and Omicron strains of the virus. The decision follows an endorsement of the booster from the UK’s Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), the government’s independent scientific advisory board.

The decision was based on a clinical trial which demonstrated that the booster triggers a strong immune response against the original COVID strain and BA.1, the first Omicron strain. It also demonstrated a good immune response against Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5. Side-effects and overall safety profile were found to be the same as those in the original vaccine.

“The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives,” notes June Raine, chief executive, MHRA. “What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armory to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve.”