A committee of experts from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has given the green light for approval of an advanced corona vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer in the EU. The EMA announced this on Wednesday in Amsterdam. Formally, the European Commission still has to agree.

It is a preparation adapted to the Omicron subline XBB.1.5. It is intended to provide better protection against variants currently circulating.

The companies Biontech and Pfizer said that the vaccine doses would be ready for shipment to the relevant EU member states “immediately” after approval by the European Commission. A final decision is expected shortly.

The Biontech/Pfizer vaccine Corminaty was the first available in the corona pandemic at the end of 2020. It had already come onto the market last year in a further developed form because of other Omikron sub-lines. The update aims to further improve protection against serious illnesses and hospital stays.

Stiko only recommends refreshers for specific groups

Vaccination reactions are typically mild and short-lived, the EMA said. These could include headaches, diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, tiredness, chills, fever, pain and swelling at the injection site. “More serious side effects may rarely occur.”

As with other Covid-19 vaccines, it is the decision of the national authorities how the vaccine is used, the EMA said. The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) in Germany now only recommends booster vaccinations to certain groups, preferably in the fall. These include people over 60, people with certain previous illnesses from the age of six months, nursing and health workers and relatives of risk patients. At least twelve months should usually have passed since the last vaccination or infection.