Germany’s health minister said on Friday that European Union drug regulatory authorities could authorize the use of vaccines each effective against two variants of the coronavirus.
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said he expects the European Medicines Agency to meet on September 1 to review a vaccine that will provide protection against the original virus and the so-called omicron variant, also known as BA.1.
The EU agency is likely to hold another meeting on September 27 to review a combination vaccine against the original virus and variant BA.5, which is responsible for the latest global spike in COVID-19 cases, Lauterbach said. Germany has purchased sufficient quantities of both vaccines and will be able to start distributing them as soon as a day after receiving approval, he said.
The US Food and Drug Administration said combination vaccines, known as “bivalent” or “multivalent” vaccines, would allow boosters to retain the proven benefits of the original coronavirus vaccines while providing additional protection against newer options.
This approach is used in flu shots, which are adjusted each year based on circulating variants and can protect against four flu strains.