Autumn Covid booster 2022: which Covid vaccines will be used - and what we know about Moderna bivalent jab

There will be a number of vaccines used in the Covid autumn booster rollout

Everyone over the age of 50 will be offered a Covid-19 booster and flu jab this autumn.

But which vaccines will be used?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Which vaccines will be used in the autumn booster rollout?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published its advice on which vaccines should be used in this year’s autumn booster programme.

The JCVI said all of the available boosters provide good protection against severe illness from Covid and emphasised that getting a booster in good time before the winter season is important.

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The vaccines advised for use in the autumn booster programme are:

For adults aged 18 years and above:

  • Moderna mRNA (Spikevax) bivalent Original ‘wild-type’/Omicron BA.1. Dose: 50 micrograms
  • Moderna mRNA (Spikevax) Original ‘wild-type’ vaccine. Dose: 50 micrograms
  • Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA (Comirnaty) bivalent Original ‘wild-type’/Omicron BA.1 vaccine. Dose: 30 micrograms.
  • Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA (Comirnaty) ‘wild-type’ vaccine. Dose: 30 micrograms

For people aged 12 to 17 years:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA (Comirnaty) bivalent Original ‘wild-type’/Omicron BA.1 vaccine. Dose: 30 micrograms.
  • Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA (Comirnaty) ‘wild-type’ vaccine. Dose: 30 micrograms

For people aged 5 to 11 years:

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  • Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA (Comirnaty) Original ‘wild-type’ vaccine paediatric formulation

Exceptional circumstances:

  • Novavax Matrix-M adjuvanted wild-type vaccine (Nuvaxovid), dose 5 micrograms (Spike protein) with 50 micrograms adjuvant, may be used ‘off-label’ as a booster dose for persons aged 18 years and above when no alternative clinically suitable UK-approved COVID-19 vaccine is available
There will be a number of vaccines used in the Covid autumn booster rollout

Will bivalent vaccines be used?

‘Bivalent’ vaccines have been developed by global manufacturers since the emergence and dominance of the Omicron variant.

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These vaccines contain two different antigens (substances that induce an immune response) based on two different Covid-19 strains or variants. The original mRNA vaccines contain one antigen (monovalent), based on the original ‘wild-type’ strain.

The UK became the first country in the world to approve Moderna’s bivalent vaccine in August, which targets both the original strain of the virus and the Omicron variant.

Studies indicate the Moderna bivalent vaccine produces a marginally higher immune response against some variants than the Moderna mRNA Original ‘wild-type’ vaccine.

A second bivalent Covid jab has also been approved for use in the UK for those aged 12 and over.

The MHRA confirmed on Saturday (3 September) that Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine had met its standards of safety, quality and effectiveness and had been approved for the UK autumn booster programme.

The vaccine targets the original variant of coronavirus and the Omicron variant that emerged at the end of 2021.

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Who will be eligible for a Covid booster jab?

Everyone over the age of 50 will be offered a Covid-19 booster, as well as residents in a care home for older adults and staff, frontline health and social care workers and those aged five to 49 in a clinical risk group, including pregnant women.

The jab will also be offered to those aged five to 49 who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression, and those aged 16 to 49 who are carers.

All eligible groups are being encouraged to take up the vaccine when it is offered even if they have had a spring booster, as long as it has been at least three months since their last vaccination.