Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Canada should follow the US not the UK on new COVID vaccines

Modernas new bivalent COVID-19, vaccine, which targets the Omicron variant as well as the original virus, has just been cleared for use in the UK. Which sounds positive and hopeful. Except that it probably still won't work that well against the strains of the virus that are currently spreading. 

The Moderma vaccine works well against the original strain, which is almost non-existent now (why are they targeting the original virus at all?), and against last year's Omicron BA.1 strain, which is also no longer commonly found in the wild. It is much less effective against the BA.5 strain, which now makes up nearly 90% of all cases in North America and 70% worldwide. So forgive me for not getting too excited.

The USA's Federal Drugs Agency has said that any new vaccine to be used in the US needs to be specifically targeted to the BA.4 and BA.5 strains, which makes more sense to me. This means that the current new Moderna vaccine just approved by the UK won't be coming to the US. A new vaccine will not therefore be available before the fall (and maybe late fall), but when ot it does arrive it should be more effective. 

I'm hoping that's what Canada does too, although the Canadian health authorities are remaining typically close-lipped thus far.

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