UK approves updated Pfizer COVID vaccine

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An updated COVID-19 booster vaccine has been approved for use in the UK.

The second "bivalent" vaccine, made by Pfizer/BioNTech, targets two coronavirus variants and has been approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in those aged 12 and above.

The regulator confirmed on Saturday that the vaccine had met its standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

The vaccine targets both the original strain of coronavirus and the Omicron variant that emerged at the end of 2021, and follows a similar booster from Moderna that was approved in August.

The MHRA said its decision is based on data from a clinical trial which showed that a booster dose with the bivalent Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine triggers a strong immune response against both Omicron and the original strain.

Safety monitoring showed that the side-effects observed were the same as those seen for the original Pfizer/BioNTech booster dose and were typically mild and self-resolving, and no new serious safety concerns were identified.