UK Medicines Regulator Approves Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines as Booster Shots

The United Kingdom medicines regulator approved on Sept. 9 the use of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and AstraZeneca as booster shots.

“I am pleased to confirm that the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca can be used as safe and effective booster doses,” Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Chief Executive June Raine announced, citing concerns on the decline of a person’s immunity over time after the first vaccine.

“This is an important regulatory change as it gives further options for the vaccination program, which has saved thousands of lives so far,” Raine further said.

MHRA said the decision follows a careful review of available data on safety and effectiveness of booster doses.

According to Raine, it is now up to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JVCI) to advise when the booster shoots will be given and which vaccines should be used.

JVCI has also yet to decide if the booster shots are necessary and who should be eligible.

Last week, Public Health England announced that a third COVID-19 vaccine dose will be given to severely immunosuppressed people to increase their chances of generating a better immune response against the virus, following the recommendation made by JCVI.

The decision by MHRA also came a day after World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for an extension of a halt of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots through the end of the year to allow low-income countries to vaccinate their most vulnerable groups.

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