Health Canada accredits Moderna’s updated COVID-19 vaccine for Omicron variant

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Image credit:

Moderna’s updated COVID-19 vaccine targeting the Omicron variant has been formally approved by Health Canada.

This vaccine has been approved for use in adults 18 a d older and will become the first COVID-19 vaccine available in Canada that targets Omicron in addition to the original strain of the coronavirus.

Health Canada said in a decision summary made public Thursday, that the new vaccine shows “significantly higher responses” to the Omicron BA.1 virus in comparison to Moderna’s original coronavirus vaccine, officially branded as Spikevax.

Although the updated vaccine was developed to target the Omicron BA.1 variant, clinical trials, says Health Canada suggest the new vaccine still shows a stronger immune response against the more recent mutations of Omicron — BA.4 and BA.5 — which are now dominant.

According to recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) the updated vaccine should be offered to adults who are recommended to receive a fall booster dose.

NACI says that the vaccine could also be offered to adolescents between 12 and 17 with “moderately to severely immunocompromising conditions” and those who have elevated social risk factors.

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