EU officials on Tuesday recommended that the two omicron-tailored vaccines recently endorsed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) be first deployed in high-risk individuals.
Developed by Moderna and the team of Pfizer and BioNTech, the new so-called bivalent shots combat the BA.1 version of omicron and the original virus first detected in China.
While the European regulatory approval allows for the use of these adapted vaccines for those aged 12 and older, vaccination drives for this autumn and winter should prioritize boosting people at highest risk of severe disease.
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These groups include people over 60, immunocompromised individuals, those with underlying medical conditions, residents and staff in long term care facilities, and pregnant women, the EMA and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a joint statement.
Healthcare workers should also be considered for additional booster doses with these vaccines considering that it may have
been a long time since their last dose, they said.
While the original coronavirus vaccines continue to provide good protection against hospitalization and death, their effectiveness has taken a hit as the virus has evolved.
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