As countries try to bolster their immunization programs ahead of the winter, the European Medicines Agency has recommended that a tweaked booster dose of the Pfizer–BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine be authorized that also provides protection against two of the latest versions of Omicron. EU regulators said Monday that laboratory studies indicate the combination vaccine should trigger an effective immune response against both the original COVID-19 virus and the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.
According to the AP, the vaccine is expected to be as safe as its original version, but the agency will monitor its rollout globally since limited data exists. Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the green light to the modified vaccine shot. Approximately 87% of all virus sequences shared with the largest public database came from the BA.5 version of Omicron, according to the World Health Organization. A combination vaccine aimed at protecting against BA.1 was also cleared earlier this month by the European Medicines Agency.