Britain’s medicines regulator has given the UK government the go-ahead to proceed with a third or booster shot of the two most widely used Covid vaccines.
Both Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and AstraZeneca’s vaccines can safely be administered for a third time, said the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) though whether to start a programme rests with Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), it added.
“I am pleased to confirm that the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) Inc and AstraZeneca PLC (LSE:AZN) can be used as safe and effective booster doses,” said MHRA June Raine, chief executive.
“It will now be for the (JCVI) to advise on whether booster jabs will be given.”
The debate over booster has split opinion and seen even the two companies making the drugs offer different views.
Pfizer, which makes a profit on its shots, has applied for permission in the US to start booster jabs while AstraZeneca’s boss this week said Britain should wait until the evidence from six months of vaccinations is available.
Planning for a programme for the most at risk groups in the community has already started, the government said last week.
Earlier on Thursday, JCVI member Adam Finn said that it wasn’t clear that protection was waning against severe disease, and that a mistimed booster programme might cause more problems than it solves.