Health Canada has approved a new COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna that targets both the original strain of the novel coronavirus and the Omicron variant.
The new shots approved by Health Canada, called bivalent vaccines, are designed to recognize specific mutations in the spike protein of the Omicron BA.1 subvariant.
In a decision posted on Health Canada’s website, the regulator says data show the new vaccine induces a similar immune response to the original strain of the COVID-19 virus and significantly higher responses to the Omicron BA.1 variant, when compared with the earlier version of the Moderna vaccine.
The United Kingdom approved Moderna’s new vaccine two weeks ago, and the United States Food and Drug Administration gave Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s Omicron-fighting shots the green light earlier this week.
The version approved in the U.S. targets newer and more prevalent strains of the Omicron variant than the one submitted for approval in Canada.
Canada has already purchased 12 million doses of Moderna’s version of the Omicron vaccine, which includes converting some existing orders for the original Moderna vaccine so that the newly adapted version will be delivered instead.
By Laura Osman