The EMA has recommended the use of vaccines targeting the omicron variant of the coronavirus

The EMA has recommended the use of vaccines targeting the omicron variant of the coronavirus
The EMA has recommended the use of vaccines targeting the omicron variant of the coronavirus

Amsterdam/Prague – The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended the administration of booster doses of modified vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, which target the omicron variant of the coronavirus. The EMA has also today recommended the use of Novavax’s covid-19 vaccine as a booster dose for adults. This was reported by the Reuters agency.

The modified vaccines target both the original virus variant and the BA.1 omicron variant. The European Commission has the final say in the authorization of the vaccine, its decision is expected soon. Czech Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09) told journalists last week that if the vaccines are approved at the beginning of September, Pfizer/BioNTech will also deliver them to the Czech Republic in the fall. It will be about three million doses.

The EU regulator has recommended the administration of booster doses to persons aged 12 and over who have received at least a basic vaccination against the covid-19 disease in the past. “Thus, modified vaccines can extend protection against different variants and are therefore expected to help maintain optimal protection against covid-19 as the virus evolves.” stated in addition, the Czech State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL). According to him, the side effects of the new vaccines are comparable to the original ones, i.e. typically of a mild and short-term nature.

Vaccines targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 submutations of the omicron coronavirus variant, which are now dominant and more infectious, are currently under review by the EMA. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the BA.5 subvariant accounts for up to 80 percent of covid-19 cases worldwide.

German MEP and health expert Peter Liese told Reuters on Wednesday that modified vaccines would be delivered to the European Union days after the vaccinations are approved by regulators.

Vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, which target the omikron variant of the coronavirus, were already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday. In mid-August, the modified vaccination from Moderna was also approved by the British Medicines Authority MHRA.

The EU regulator said the modified vaccines “should help maintain an optimal level of protection against covid-19 while the virus evolves”. According to SÚKL, even the original vaccines function as prevention of a serious course of the disease and will thus continue to be used, especially for basic vaccinations.

The researchers hope that the modified doses will trigger a strong immune system response to prevent not only a severe course of the disease, but also a mild one, much like the original vaccines did at the beginning of the pandemic before more contagious variants emerged.

It’s unclear how effective these boosters will be, as experts are still collecting data. However, there is evidence that they are safe, so waiting for further studies on their effectiveness would mean the risk of more and even more contagious variants emerging in the interim, according to the EMA.

“Important positive news from the EMA,” she wrote on

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakidis. According to her, the vaccines “will increase the protection of our citizens during the fall and winter”. “Our vaccine approval will follow soon,” Kyriakidis said, adding that “the pandemic is not over yet.”

In anticipation of the autumn wave of infections, the EMA today also approved the use of Novavax’s Nuvaxovid vaccine for booster doses, regardless of the first product used. The vaccine is designed against a strain of the virus that originally appeared in China. The substance from the company Novavax is a so-called protein vaccine, which is based on a long-proven technology that is used, for example, to fight hepatitis B and influenza.

Already last December, when the European Commission approved the deployment of the Novavax vaccine in the EU, experts expressed the hope that it could make some reticent people to get vaccinated, because it is made by a traditional method, different from the principle on which most other preparations used against the coronavirus are based . For example, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines.

Globally, the number of confirmed cases of covid-19 and deaths from this disease is decreasing, but experts expect that with the arrival of winter in the northern hemisphere, hospitalizations and deaths will increase.

EU vaccination EMA coronavirus

The article is in Czech

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