Second Omicron booster jab gets green light from European Medicines Agency
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission have authorised a new adapted vaccine that targets the Omicron strain of COVID-19 for use in the EU.
Bivalent vaccine targeting Omicron subvariants approved for use in EU
The so-called bivalent vaccine - sometimes referred to as an “Omicron booster” - is the second to be authorised in the EU. Both have been developed by the German company BioNTech in partnership with the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer. The vaccine is intended for use in people aged 12 and above who have received at least a primary course of vaccination.
But while the first Omicron booster, which was given the green light earlier in September, targets the Omicron subvariant BA.1, this second vaccine is intended to protect primarily against the subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which are currently dominant in Europe and the US. Both jabs also protect against the original coronavirus strain as well.
In a statement, the EMA said that the approval of the new vaccine “will further extend the arsenal of available vaccines to protect people against COVID-19 as the pandemic continues and new waves of infections are anticipated in the cold season.”
STIKO statement on Omicron booster expected soon
The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) in Germany is currently recommending a second booster vaccination against COVID for everyone over the age of 60, as well as anyone over the age of five who has a medical condition that makes them vulnerable to a severe course of the disease.
The commission has not yet issued a statement on Omicron boosters, but it is expected that people going for booster shots in the autumn and winter in Germany will be given the choice of a bivalent vaccination by their doctor.