EU regulatory panel backs Moderna’s updated COVID shot

(Reuters) -The European regulator’s advisory panel on Thursday recommended authorising an updated COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna, putting it on track to become the second shot to be used in the EU countries’ vaccination campaign this autumn.

The updated shot, branded Spikevax, to target the dominant XBB.1.5 variant of Omicron was recommended for use in adults and children aged 6 months and above.

Earlier this month, the European Commission authorised an updated COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and its German partner BioNtech for the same population.

The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) advisory panel recommended that everyone above 5 years of age should receive the shot, irrespective of their COVID vaccination history.

For children 6 months to 4 years of age, the panel recommended they receive one or two doses of the updated Moderna shot based on whether they have completed a primary vaccination course or were previously infected.

The updated shots from both Moderna and Pfizer have been authorized for use in the United States and pharmacy chains CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance have said they expect the shots to be available in their stores as early as this week.

(Reporting by Leroy Leo and Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)