UK to Roll out Moderna’s Omicron COVID-19 Booster Vaccine From September

UK to Roll out Moderna’s Omicron COVID-19 Booster Vaccine From September
A vial labelled "Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine" is seen in this illustration taken on Jan. 16, 2022. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters/Illustration)
Alexander Zhang

UK health authorities have said they will start the rollout of Moderna’s new vaccine against the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the first week of September.

NHS England said care home residents and people who are housebound will be among the first to be vaccinated as the rollout begins from Sept. 5. A wider rollout is due to start on Sept. 12.

NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said: “The NHS was the first health care system in the world to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials, and will now be the first to deliver the new, variant-busting vaccine when the rollout begins at the start of September.”

The NHS will also be rolling out the flu vaccine and encouraging eligible people to take up the offer from the first of the month where possible.

Pritchard urged anyone who is invited to take up both an autumn booster and flu jab, “to do so as quickly as possible—it will give you maximum protection this winter.”

Heart Inflammation Risks

The UK was the first country in the world to approve Moderna’s bivalent vaccine, which targets both the original strain of the virus and the Omicron variant.
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced on Aug. 15 that the vaccine had been found to meet the regulator’s standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness.

The MHRA said that the vaccine’s side effects are the same as those seen in the original Moderna booster dose and were “typically mild and self-resolving.”

“No serious safety concerns were identified,” the regulator said.

But there have been well-documented cases of side effects associated with previous COVID-19 vaccines produced by Moderna.

A French peer-reviewed study concluded in June that for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the risk of myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation, skyrockets a week after vaccination.

The risk of myocarditis after receiving the Moderna vaccine was 30 times greater than unvaccinated control groups, and the largest association for myocarditis following the Moderna jab was 44 times higher risk for persons aged 18 to 24 years.

The U.S. vaccine maker admitted in June that more than 1,000 cases of myocarditis had been detected in recipients of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine who are under 40 years old.

The company did not report cases of pericarditis, another heart inflammation condition that has been linked with the vaccines produced by both it and Pfizer.

Both myocarditis and pericarditis can have serious repercussions, with doctors often ordering patients to stop all physical activity for a period of time.

Zachary Stieber and PA Media contributed to this report.