EU drug regulator: still unclear if COVID-19 shots need tweaking for Omicron

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The European Union’s drug regulator is prepared for the possibility that COVID-19 vaccines may be tweaked to fight the new Omicron variant although there is no evidence yet that it will be necessary, the agency’s chief said on Tuesday.

“There is no answer whether we will need to adapt vaccines,” European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) executive director Emer Cook said in a media briefing.

She said the agency needs more data on vaccine efficacy, the variant’s transmissibility and the severity of disease it causes.

Cook said did not think the world would still be in a pandemic a year ago when the agency gave the regulatory greenlight for the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech , the first in the region.

The European Union has the capacity to make 300 million doses of vaccines per month as drugmakers have ramped up output to meet growing demand for its 450 million population, she said.