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First country approves Moderna vaccine targeting Omicron


Matt Woodley


17/08/2022 5:27:57 PM

The approval comes in the same week that Monash University was selected to house the first mRNA production facility in the Southern Hemisphere.

Anthony Albanese and Daniel Andrews.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews at Monash University’s Clayton Campus after it was announced as the site for the new mRNA vaccine production facility. (Image: AAP)

A dual vaccine designed to tackle the original COVID virus and the newer Omicron variant has been approved for use in the UK.
 
The ‘bivalent’ vaccine (mRNA-1273.214), developed by Moderna, was approved for adult booster doses by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after it was found to meet the UK regulator’s standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
 
MHRA CEO Dr June Raine said clinical trials indicate that the bivalent booster vaccine provides a ‘strong immune response’ against Omicron BA.1 as well as the original strain.
 
‘The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives. What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armoury to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve,’ she said.
 
‘We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved COVID-19 vaccines and this will include the [new] vaccine.’
 
Half of each vaccine dose (25 micrograms) is aimed at the original virus strain and the other half (25 micrograms) targets BA.1.
 
Moderna has reportedly indicated it can provide 13 million doses to the UK by the end of the year, while it also recently entered an agreement with US authorities to supply 66 million doses of a different bivalent vaccine (mRNA-1273.222), which targets the BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
 
The European Commission has agreed to purchase an additional 15 million doses of an as yet unspecified Omicron-targeted vaccine booster candidate, while Australia is due to receive 15 million ‘variant-specific doses’ in 2022. Both deals are contingent on the vaccines being approved by the regions’ respective health authorities.
 
The news was announced in the same week that Monash University confirmed its Clayton campus had been selected as the site for the first mRNA vaccine production facility in the Southern Hemisphere.
 
Confirmation came six months after Moderna, the Federal Government and the Victorian Government reached an in-principle agreement to build the facility, which once operational is expected to produce up to 100 million vaccine doses each year, including for COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
 
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited the campus earlier his week and said Australia had previously been too complacent about producing its own vaccines.
 
‘One of the lessons of the pandemic is that we need to be more resilient, we need to be more self-reliant, and we need to make more things here,’ he said.
 
‘We can’t continue to assume it’s OK to be at the end of the global supply chains because we know that what COVID represented, of course, was a massive global disruption to their supply chains.’
 
Construction will begin by the end of 2022 and the site is expected to be operational by the end of 2024.
 
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Dr Indrani Warnakulasooriya   17/08/2022 9:15:01 PM

i had two boosters of modern a. no side effects