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New double COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273.214 approved in Britain

Britain yesterday became the first country in the world to approve a double COVID-19 jab aimed at fighting the Omicron variant.

The vaccine could be available in the autumn booster programme for 26 million Britons, including the over-50s and people in high-risk groups.

Current COVID-19 jabs are designed to target the original coronavirus which emerged in China in late 2019. But the new Moderna injection combats both the original strain and Omicron in a ‘50-50’ approach.

Its approval comes after the UK led the world in COVID-19 vaccination, launching the first approved jab programme in December 2020 which was hailed as a great success.

Experts say the “bivalent” vaccine appears to be superior to the original Moderna jab in protecting against Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

These were responsible for the surge in COVID-19 earlier this year and were more infectious and better at evading vaccines.

Moderna chief medical officer Dr Paul Burton previously said the new jab can boost anti-bodies to such high levels that it may only be needed annually.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) yesterday said the vaccine had met its standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

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