A study involving around 800 volunteers found Moderna’s “bivalent” vaccine was safe and generated a strong immune response. The jab, which will be rolled out this autumn, is the first in a new wave of vaccines being developed to tackle Covid variants.
The Government had agreed a contract with Moderna for 29 million doses to be delivered this year, which included access to modified versions if and when they became available. It also has a contract with Pfizer for tweaked jabs.
Writing in the Daily Express today, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Once again, we are leading the way.”
The UK deployed the world’s first Covid vaccine in December 2020.
Some 26 million people will be eligible for a booster from next month, including all over 50s. Health chiefs stressed that the original Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines were still highly effective.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said: “All of the available booster vaccines offer very good protection against severe illness from Covid.
“As more vaccines continue to be developed and approved, the JCVI will consider the benefits of including them in the UK programme. It is important that everyone eligible takes up a booster this autumn, whichever is on offer. This will increase your protection against being severely ill from Covid-19 as we move into winter.”
Around one in 25 people – or 2.1 million – were thought to have been infected with Covid in England during the last week of July. Cases have fallen daily since July 8.