Omicron jab gets provisional green light

Australia's medical regulator has given a provisional green light to the first COVID-19 booster shot for two Omicron variants.

The Pfizer jab will be for those aged 12 and over and targets the BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

The approval was granted on Friday.

A booster for the BA.1 variant and original bivalent vaccine - which is when the original virus strain is included in the vaccine - was approved late last year.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration said studies showed the vaccine helped produce neutralising antibodies against the variants and original strains one month after the booster.

It also provided protection against a number of other variants.

"Evidence from extensive use in the US and Europe over recent months has also shown that this booster provides clear reductions in hospitalisation and death," the regulator said.

The rollout of the vaccine is yet to be ticked off, with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation due to provide advice to the government in coming weeks.

Australian Medical Association vice-president Danielle McMullen said the new vaccine was a sign manufacturers were keeping up quickly with new variants.

"What we are waiting to hear now is what ATAGI's long-term vision for what the COVID vaccine is, and whether it's like the flu vaccine, which is updated every year to include new variants," Dr McMullen said.