EU regulator reviewing data on AstraZeneca COVID-19 booster shots

A doctor shows vials of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine in his general practice facility, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Vienna, Austria May13, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Nov 4 (Reuters) - The European Union's drug regulator said on Thursday it was in discussions with AstraZeneca (AZN.L) over possible authorisation of booster doses of the drugmaker's COVID-19 vaccine, after it already gave the green light to mRNA booster shots.

"AstraZeneca is submitting data to us. Actually today they submitted a new package of data that could support an extension to use the booster," the European Medicines Agency's head of vaccines strategy, Marco Cavaleri, said at a briefing.

"We will be discussing with them whether this data could be sufficient for (authorisation) or whether we need more evidence," Cavaleri added.

EMA has previously given the go-ahead for vaccines by the Pfizer-BioNTech (PFE.N), (22UAy.DE) alliance and by Moderna (MRNA.O), both based on messenger RNA technology, to be given as a third booster dose at least six months after a standard two-shot course.

The focus of booster campaigns in Europe was initially on the elderly and on those with weakened immune systems but larger parts of the population have been called on to seek a third shot.

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Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Editing by Edmund Blair and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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