Canada approves Moderna shot targeting Omicron
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In a summary of the decision, Health Canada said clinical trials of the new bivalent vaccine induced significantly higher immune responses than its predecessor against the now dominant Omicron variants.
It also matched the older Moderna vaccine's effectiveness against the original virus, and is recommended as a booster in adults aged 18 years and over. (Bivalent means the jab targets both the original and new strains).
Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said the bivalent Moderna Spikevax vaccine "is anticipated to provide stronger and broader protection, including against the Omicron variants that have been circulating."
It is the first bivalent shot to be authorized for use in Canada. Pfizer-BioNTech are awaiting approval of their own version of an Omicron-targeting booster and are expected to make new submissions soon, a public health official told a briefing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged all Canadians to "get out and get vaccinated."
"Covid is not done with us," he told reporters in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he met with a group of nursing students. "As winter comes and people get pushed back indoors there is a real risk of another serious wave of Covid."
According to government data, 86 percent of eligible Canadians or about 31 million people have received two Covid jabs. But only about half have so far received a booster.