Aug 15, 2022 - Health

U.K. becomes first in world to OK Moderna's updated COVID-19 booster

A health worker draws the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as she prepares to administer the spring booster also known as fourth jab to a person at a vaccination clinic.

A health worker draws the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on April 22. Photo: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Regulators in the United Kingdom on Monday approved a COVID-19 booster for adults that targets both the original virus and the Omicron variant.

Why it matters: Monday's approval makes the United Kingdom the first in the world to authorize the bivalent COVID-19 booster, the updated version of Moderna’s vaccine.

Driving the news: "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," June Raine, the head of Britain’s health care and medicines regulator, said in a statement.

  • Half of the vaccine will target the original virus, while the other half targets Omicron.
  • "Side effects observed were the same as those seen for the original Moderna booster dose and were typically mild and self-resolving, and no serious safety concerns were identified," the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said.

The big picture: The U.S. FDA in June announced that vaccine makers this fall will roll out updated COVID booster shots that are better suited to protect people against the most prevalent coronavirus subvariants.

What they're saying: "This bivalent vaccine has an important role to play in protecting people in the UK from COVID-19 as we enter the winter months," Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said in a statement.

Go deeper ... FDA: Updated COVID boosters will roll out in the fall

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