The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has requested all vaccine developers to investigate if their vaccines provide protection against new virus variants, saying that vaccines seem to be protective, an EMA official said on Thursday.
EMA's head of vaccine strategy Marco Cavaleri told a news conference that the agency will examine the findings of these studies to conclude on the level of protection that current COVID-19 vaccines offer against new variants.
"We are aware of the concerns caused by the rapid spread of the Delta variant and other variants. Right now, it seems that the four vaccines that are approved in the EU are protective against all strains circulating in Europe, including the Delta variant."
Four vaccines are currently approved for emergency use in the EU, including BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson &Johnson.
"Emerging data from real-world evidence are showing that two doses of vaccines are protective against the Delta variant, and data from the laboratories are showing that the antibodies from the vaccines are able to neutralize the Delta variant too, so this is reassuring news," he said.
The EMA was also studying whether the double dose of the vaccine was enough to protect or whether a booster dose was required, according to Cavaleri.
"At this stage, it is not yet clear whether booster doses will be necessary for the vaccines to maintain their protection," he said.
He added that the EMA was aware of a mix-and-match vaccine strategy adopted by certain member states which were different doses of different vaccines. Such a strategy has historically been proven to be successful and has a solid scientific rationale.
However, the EMA was not in a position to make any definitive recommendation on the use of different COVID-19 vaccines for the two doses, said Cavaleri.