UK to start rolling out new COVID-19 vaccination campaign

LONDON (AP) — The United Kingdom will begin its fall vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in the coming weeks after allowing booster shots made by Pfizer and Moderna that have been modified to target both the virus original and the widely distributed omicron variant.

The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency said on Saturday it had approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in people aged 12 and over after finding it to be both safe and effective. The agency licensed the Moderna vaccine last month.

The government will offer the vaccine to anyone aged 50 and over, as well as frontline healthcare workers and other groups considered to be particularly at risk of serious illness as the National Health Service prepares for a increase in infections this winter.

“These innovative vaccines will broaden immunity and strengthen our defenses against what remains a potentially deadly virus,” Health Secretary Steve Barclay said in a statement. “If you are eligible, please report for a booster shot as soon as you are contacted by the NHS.”

Previous COVID-19 vaccines targeted the initial strain, even when mutants emerged. In the new “bivalent” boosters, half of the shot targets the original vaccine and the other half provides protection against the new omicron variants.

The Associated Press


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