Italy greenlights Omicron-adapted COVID-19 booster shots

(Xinhua) 09:01, September 07, 2022

ROME, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) on Tuesday gave its approval to the distribution of two coronavirus vaccines specifically tailored to confront the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus.

The approval from AIFA came after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last week endorsed the use of the updated Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines and concluded the Comirnaty and Spikevax vaccines were safe for use in individuals over the age of 12.

Italy began distributing COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020, but the new boosters represent the first time the country has approved a coronavirus vaccine dose engineered for a specific variant of the virus.

As in the past, priority will be given to those aged over 60 or other residents with health conditions that make them specifically vulnerable to COVID-19.

"The AIFA-continuous booster dose is available to all subjects under the authorized indication and may be administered at least three months after completion of the primary vaccination cycle or any booster dose already received," said the agency in a press release.

The development comes amid a lull in the spread of COVID-19 in Italy. On Tuesday, the country recorded nearly 25,000 new infections and 80 new deaths, a decline from recent peaks surpassing 100,000 daily infections in mid-July.

But health officials have urged prudence going forward amid fears of a new wave of the virus in winter -- a period that has seen spikes in COVID-19 cases and deaths since the virus became widespread in Italy in 2020. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


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