The European Medicines Agency has now approved an updated version of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s covid vaccine, which it says is particularly effective against the so-called omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The agency adds that it recommends that children from six months of age receive at least one dose.
The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended approval of a modified version of Pfizer/BioNTech’s covid vaccine Comirnaty, Reuters reports. The covid vaccine is said to work against the omicron variant of the virus.
The drug regulator recommends that children as young as six months and up to four years old should receive one shot if they have previously received the covid vaccine. Otherwise, children should receive three shots, the agency said.
For children and adults five years of age and older, only one shot is recommended, regardless of how many previous shots the child has received. More doses may be recommended for people with weakened immune systems or similar conditions.
Pregnant women a priority
In the run-up to winter, there are plans to prioritize injections for groups considered to be at higher risk of “severe disease”, such as people over 60, those with underlying medical conditions, and also pregnant women.
Pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Novavax have also developed versions of the covid vaccine that specifically target the omicron variant.
The recommendations must now be formally approved by the European Commission before they can be used.
A controversial drug
Both Pfizer's and Moderna's Covid vaccines have previously been found to increase the risk of heart muscle inflammation, according to a Nordic study. This prompted health authorities to "pause" the injections for a period of time.