France clears Omicron-adapted COVID boosters for autumn vaccination drive

Test tube labelled "COVID-19 Omicron variant test positive" is seen in this illustration picture taken January 15, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

PARIS, Sept 20 (Reuters) - France's HAS health authority on Tuesday followed the European Union's drug regulator and cleared two separate COVID-19 vaccine boosters updated to target the Omicron variant.

Developed by Moderna (MRNA.O) and the team of Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech (22UAy.DE), the new so-called bivalent shots combat the BA.1 version of Omicron and the original virus first detected in China.

"The HAS confirms its recommendation to administer an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to people at risk of developing a severe form of the disease, as well as to their families and healthcare professionals in the autumn," HAS said.

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The European Union's drug regulator gave a green light on Sept. 1, ahead of an anticipated rise in COVID infections this winter. The EU-wide recommendation is to authorise the vaccines for people aged 12 and above who have received at least primary vaccination against COVID. read more

EU officials recommended that the two Omicron-tailored vaccines recently endorsed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) be first deployed in high-risk individuals. read more

France's HAS also said it recommended additional booster jabs for all people older than 60 and those at a particular risk due to their health condition as well as to pregnant women.

People close to those risk groups and health workers exposed to them should also receive a shot this autumn, it said.

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Reporting by Tassilo Hummel Editing by GV De Clercq and Mark Heinrich

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