PARIS: France's HAS health authority on Tuesday (Sep 20) followed the European Union's drug regulator and cleared two separate COVID-19 vaccine boosters updated to target the Omicron variant.
Developed by Moderna and the team of Pfizer and BioNTech, 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.
The European Union's drug regulator gave a green light on Sep 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-19.
EU officials recommended that the two Omicron-tailored vaccines recently endorsed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) be first deployed in high-risk individuals.
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.