UK Becomes First to Approve COVID Vaccine for Omicron Variant

    Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images [via The New York Times]

    The Facts

    • A booster dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine, known as "Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron," has been approved for the first time by the UK. The shot includes 25 micrograms of each of an Omicron-specific and original COVID vaccine, allowing it to target both the Omicron variant as well as the initial strain.

    • In clinical trials, the new shot generated a good immune response to both target strains. The result followed the emergence of Omicron - and its particularly contagious subvariants - in the spring, which appears to reduce the efficacy of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at preventing hospitalization.


    The Spin

    Left narrative

    This breakthrough is a crucial step in developing greater protection against the disease and saving lives. A broader immune response from the new shot will act as a tool in the arsenal against rising COVID rates, especially going into a winter when the UK will be much more vulnerable to the virus and its many variants.

    Right narrative

    The ongoing risk of COVID, and the need to protect Brits from the virus, has been hugely overstated for months. The millions of COVID vaccines that continue to be distributed in the UK are the long-term plan. It's time for the UK to let go of its fixation on this virus. Arguing about restrictions and making costly government interventions could be better spent tackling a real threat to public health.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance that at least 1.13% of the UK will have long-COVID (one year after infection) on August 31, 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


    Political split

    LEFT

    RIGHT

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