The European health regulator on Thursday approved the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID, Vaxzevria, as a booster.

The recommendation, made by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) committee, covers adults who have previously been vaccinated with Vaxzevria or an mRNA vaccine, such as those produced by Pfizer and BioNTech or Moderna.

The recommendation came a few weeks after the EMA supported the use of Comirnaty Pfizer-BioNTech as a booster for adults who had previously been vaccinated with other vaccines.

Vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer and Moderna, have indicated that most vaccinations this year will be vaccinations or the first vaccinations for children who are still receiving regulatory approval worldwide.

It is unclear how many boosters will be needed globally, and many developed countries have already begun deploying them. In some countries, even other campaigns have been launched to promote certain high-risk groups.

Meanwhile, vaccine manufacturers are also developing vaccine-specific options. Earlier this month, the EMA said it hopes to get vaccines adapted to fight coronavirus variants such as Omicron, approved by September.

Although Vaxzevria was AstraZeneca’s second bestseller last year, it found it difficult to compete with mRNA competitors. In late April, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Sarriot said the shot still had a role to play in the fight against the pandemic.

“We believe that this vaccine still has potential, it is very easy to administer and distribute,” he said. “In the future, the volume will be smaller because people will probably only need one booster a year, and not everyone will accept it.”

About half of all EU citizens are fully vaccinated and have received additional vaccinations, while 15% of those over the age of 18 have not received any vaccinations, said Mark Cavaleri, head of the Biological Health Threats and EMA vaccines strategy, on 5 May.

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