As the number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise, the U.S. intends to start administering booster doses for new variants of the COVID-19 virus starting next month, opting to skip the human trial stage in order to more quickly get the vaccines on the market. The European Medicines Agency is expected to receive marketing authorisation for the Omicron-1 vaccine by September, and the approval of the vaccine against Omicron-5 is likely to be reached by November, said Toivo Maimets, the head of the Scientific Council advising the Estonian government.
"I was at a meeting of the European Medicines Agency two weeks ago where they said that both Moderna and Pfizer have submitted applications for the marketing authorization of bivalent vaccines, and that the European Medicines Agency will issue it by September," Maimets said. "There are several 'buts' here, however. Bivalent means that these are against the original virus and the omicron-1 variant, but right now we're seeing omicron-5. This means that in the race against the virus, we're behind."
According to the council chair, both companies already have trials underway for vaccines against the omicron-5 variant as well, and that the European Medicines Agency can authorize them for use in November. "We'll never win the race against the virus at this rate," he said. "The good news, however, is that the vaccines against the original virus help prevent severe illness and death as well. These are reasonable to use."