U.K. first to approve booster targeting coronavirus and omicron variant

LONDON -London – British drug regulators are the first in the world to allow an modernized version of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination that protects against Omicron variant.

The government has announced will be made available to all people 50 years old and older beginning in the fall.In a statement issued on Monday the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency stated that it had granted the approval to Moderna’s combination “bivalent” vaccine that will be administered as a booster shot for adults.

Each booster shot is targeted at both the original coronavirus as well as Omicron BA.1. Omicron BA.1 variant that was first discovered in November.

British authorities said that the effects of the shot were similar to the ones seen in the original Moderna booster shot and were generally “mild with self-resolving.”

“What this combination vaccine provides us is a sharper weapon in our arsenal to protect us from this infection as the virus continues to develop,” said Dr. June Raine, the head of Britain’s medicines and healthcare regulator.

British Health Minister Steve Barclay said the new shot will be part of the nation’s vaccination program starting in September, based on recommendations from government experts in vaccines.

“This reliable and safe vaccine can boost immunity , and could improve protection against certain variants when we are able to live with the infection,” Barclay said.

The idea of that combines protection against multiple kinds of the same illness can be used in conjunction by flu shots, which are regularly adjusted based on the strains in circulation and defend against four strains of influenza.