UK regulator approves Moderna's updated COVID vaccine

Illustration of COVID-19 vaccine vial

(Reuters) -The UK drug regulator said on Friday it has approved an updated COVID-19 vaccine by Moderna, making it the second shot to be used in the country's vaccination campaign this autumn.

The updated shot, branded Spikevax, to target the XBB.1.5 variant of Omicron, is indicated for use in adults and children aged 6 months and above.

The approval for the shot from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency follows the European regulatory panel's recommendation on Thursday.

Earlier this month, the UK regulator also approved an updated COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech that targets only the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant.

Both these updated COVID-19 shots have also been authorized for use in the United States, with pharmacy chains such as Walgreens Boots Alliance and CVS Health saying they would be available at their stores as early as this week.

(Reporting by Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)