Germany will start Omicron-adapted COVID vaccination next week

Karl Lauterbach said the approval of the BA.1 vaccine represents a qualitative leap in the fight against the pandemic, as vaccines are now available that work well against all previously known variants of the virus, Reuters reports.

“From next week, vaccinations can start with the new doses. Now is the optimal time to close the vaccination gaps for the fall,” he said.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved, on Thursday, the anti-COVID vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna adapted to the Omicron variant.

Developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, the new so-called bivalent vaccines fight the BA.1 version of Omicron and the original virus detected in China.

The EMA recommendation is to authorize the sera for people over 12 years of age who have had at least the primary vaccination schedule against COVID.

Final approval will be subject to European Commission approval, which is expected soon.

In August, the UK became the first country to license the bivalent vaccine Moderna. Switzerland and Australia quickly followed suit.

Meanwhile, Pfizer’s tailored booster targeting the now-dominant BA.4/BA.5 variants has already been submitted for review in the EU, while Moderna’s submission of a similar serum is imminent.

The EMA is also expected to give its opinion on the BA.4/5 adapted vaccines in the coming weeks, European Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

EU officials have signaled in recent months that they are willing to initially use vaccines targeting the older BA.1 variant, given that those specifically targeting the new Omicron BA.4/5 sub-variants are further behind in development.

Instead, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insisted it was only interested in vaccines targeting BA.4 and BA.5. On Wednesday, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna won US approval for these vaccines.

(source: AFP)

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