When, for whom, which variants… What we know about the new vaccines against Covid-19

For two weeks, the Covid-19 contaminations in France have been increasing again, pointing to a possible eighth wave of the epidemic at the end of the summer, the extent of which is difficult to predict.

These new so-called bivalent vaccines, i.e. they contain the messenger RNA of the original Sars-CoV-2 virus and a messenger RNA specific to the variant, are expected in the hope of better defenses against the virus.

Here’s what you need to know.

Which variants?

For new injections, the HAS recommends “preferred”, “one of the three bivalent vaccines” – two developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and the third by Moderna – recently validated by the European Medicines Agency. This recommendation applies regardless of which vaccine the person was originally given.

These sera, which, like almost all vaccines used to date, use messenger RNA technology, “are not new vaccines but vaccines adapted to circulating strains”underlined the HAS and drew a parallel with the flu vaccines.

These are the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, which target the original strain of the virus and the BA.1 variant of Omicron, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which targets the original strain and BA subvariants .4 and BA.5 aimed by Omicron.

Omicron and its subvariants were dominant throughout 2022, dethroning previous Alpha and Delta variants. The sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 are responsible for a new wave in Europe and the United States in recent months in particular.

The HAS statement, initially expected for early September, was postponed in order to know all the recommendations of the European regulatory authority. He was taken “based on available data and in an epidemic context characterized by the majority distribution of subvariant BA.5”said the HAS.

Compared to the original vaccines “The expected clinical efficacy of these new bivalent vaccines is at least equivalent or even superior” and their tolerance is “identical”, according to HAS.

In addition to Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, other bivalent vaccines are in the pipeline. This is particularly true of a vaccine candidate from French and British labs Sanofi and GSK that targets the Delta and Beta strains.

For whom?

The new dose is aimed at two categories: people over 60 and people under 60 at risk of a severe form of Covid-19 (people with co-morbid conditions, pregnant women, immunocompromised people, children and adolescents at high risk).

The environment of these endangered people and professionals in the health and medical-social area are also affected.


Anticipating the restart of the epidemic with a new wave of “Size” uncertain, the health minister said in late August “a vaccination campaign that will be resumed in the autumn”.

“The Ministry of Health and Prevention will take note of the opinion of the HAS as it has since the beginning of the health crisis and, based on the recommendations, will decide on the vaccination strategy to be implemented.”said Tuesday the cabinet of François Braun.

The new vaccines, of which the country has already ordered several million, should be available quickly in vaccination centers and pharmacies.

Orders from the laboratories Sanofi (monovalent beta) and Spanish Hipra (bivalent alpha-beta), whose vaccines are still being studied by the European Medicines Agency, have also been placed but are not expected before the end of the year, according to the Directorate-General for Health.

“Immediately and because the number of infections has been rising again for a few days”the most vulnerable people are told not to wait for the second booster if they have not yet received it, the HAS recalls.

Despite the recommendations, only about 30% of those over 60 received a second booster shot. However, the original version of the vaccine is still effective in preventing severe forms, hospitalizations and deaths related to the disease, health officials are hammering. And it is the only possible one for a first vaccination.

And the flu?

For this new reminder campaign, the HAS is sticking to its recommendation to couple it with the annual flu shot, which begins October 18.

A simultaneous injection or on the same day of the two vaccines is possible.

#variants.. #vaccines #Covid19

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