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MHRA approves Sanofi COVID-19 vaccine after it shows 'strong immune response'

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the Sanofi Pasteur COVID-19 vaccine for use in the UK.

The VidPrevtyn Beta vaccine developed by Sanofi is the seventh COVID-19 vaccine to be authorised by the MHRA for UK deployment, the medicines regulator announced this week (December 21).

People aged 18 and over who have already received a different vaccine as a primary course will be able to receive VidPrevtyn Beta as a booster, the MHRA said.

The new vaccine “demonstrated a strong immune response”, it added.

Read more: MHRA approves second Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 booster vaccine

A spokesperson for the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) told C+D today (December 23) that in order for the vaccine to be deployed by the NHS, it would first need to be considered by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The JCVI will then make recommendations to health ministers, who will ultimately decide when to roll it out, they added.

But a Department of Health and Social Care (DH) spokesperson told C+D that the vaccine is expected to be administered in pharmacies.

The vaccine’s approval comes as the DH today issued a fresh plea for at-risk groups and health and social care workers to get their COVID-19 and flu jabs if they have not already, “as hospitalisations for flu and COVID-19 continue to rise”.

Read more: Which Boots, Well and Day Lewis branches are offering COVID-19 booster jabs?


COVID-19 and flu hospitalisations


Data published by UKHSA and NHS England yesterday (December 22) showed that flu and COVID-19 hospitalisations have increased since last week, the DH said.

It revealed that 8.27 in 100,000 people are in hospital with flu, while 9.56 per 100,000 have been hospitalised due to COVID-19.

“COVID-19 restrictions kept flu at bay in previous seasons, but the ending of these and plunging temperatures in recent weeks has resulted in increased socialising indoors, which is why both viruses are on the rise,” the DH added.

UKHSA chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said: “We’re seeing high rates of over-75s and children under five being admitted to hospital for flu so no-one should delay coming forward.

“I would encourage everyone to help keep services and themselves running healthily as we enter 2023 by putting the flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster on their Christmas to do list.”

Read more: Asda slashes flu jab cost by half following 'rapid rise' in cases

DH unveils Moderna partnership


Meanwhile, the DH yesterday announced that it has finalised a 10-year deal with vaccine manufacturer Moderna to build “a state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing centre” in the UK that will be able to produce up to 250 million vaccines a year “in the event of a pandemic”.

The centre will not only offer NHS patients access to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines but will also “have the potential to develop vaccines targeting a range of other illnesses, such as flu and RSV”, it said.

The deal will also see UKHSA working with Moderna to ensure early vaccine development by investing in mRNA research and development, the DH added.

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