The coronavirus has mutated again and again since the beginning of
the pandemic. Vaccines are constantly being developed to better protect people.
The vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna have recently been adapted to the
BA.1 variant and are already being administered. However, the new mutations
BA.4 and BA.5 play a greater role in current infections.
Adapted vaccination only as a booster
The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants cause a high incidence of infection
worldwide. Efforts have therefore been made to adapt the successful vaccines to
the new variants as well. On 12 September, the European
Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that it
was recommending BionTech/Pfizer's vaccine adapted to the BA.4/BA.5 variants
for marketing authorisation.
The European Commission has followed suit. The adapted Omicron
vaccination should initially only be used as a booster vaccination in people
aged twelve years and older, provided that they have already had basic
immunisation. Moderna's equivalent vaccine is still under regulatory review.
Amendment to the supply contracts
Given the rapidly evolving mutations, timely availability of
vaccines is particularly important. The European Commission and Member States
are pursuing a joint
strategy to secure supplies and promote the distribution of
The national authorities should receive the adapted vaccines as soon
as possible so that they can be used for their vaccination campaigns. The
existing supply contracts between the European Commission and the vaccine
manufacturers have been amended with foresight. Thus, deliveries originally
planned for the summer will now be delayed and will also include the newly
approved adapted vaccines. This is because a renewed increase in infection is
expected from October onwards. This is why enough vaccines should be available.