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France approves new vaccines for Covid Omicron sub-variants

France approves new vaccines for Covid Omicron sub-variants
The recently authorized booster vaccine protects against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the more recent omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by SCOTT OLSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

France's health authority said Tuesday it had approved three new vaccines against the prevalent Omicron sub-variants of the Covid-19 virus, in a bid to prevent a jump in infections as colder weather approaches.

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The so-called "bivalent: shots, approved by the European Medicines Agency earlier this month, target the BA.1, BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants, now responsible for the bulk of new cases since the outbreak began worldwide in early 2020.

French authorities are urging at-risk patients -- including those over 60 or adults with pre-existing conditions -- to get the bivalent vaccines as part of its booster campaign.

"The number of infections has again started rising in the past few days," the HAS health authority said, noting that the BA.5 sub-variant was causing the most new cases.

The new vaccine targeting the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 types is made by Pfizer and BioNTech, while jabs from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are for BA.1.

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