Report on Results from ICMRA-WHO Workshop Addressing Strain Changes in COVID-19 Vaccines

Today, the joint effort of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) culminated in the publication of a comprehensive report detailing the outcomes of their recent workshop on COVID-19 vaccine strain updates.

Conducted virtually on February 26–27, 2024, the workshop aimed to foster an exchange of insights regarding the process, timing, and regulatory considerations surrounding updates to COVID-19 vaccine antigens. An impressive turnout of nearly 200 participants enriched the discussion, including delegates from regulatory bodies worldwide, industry representatives, and experts from various WHO departments, such as Epidemic & Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention, Regulation and Prequalification, and Immunization, Vaccines, and Biologicals. Additionally, specialists from WHO Technical Advisory Groups on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC), SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE), and Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) contributed their expertise to the discourse.

Building on this collaborative momentum, ICMRA and WHO affirmed their commitment to sustaining dialogue to establish a structured and globally aligned process for recommending COVID-19 vaccine antigen compositions and facilitating regulatory approval for vaccines with updated formulations. This commitment is geared towards ensuring the prompt availability of updated vaccines.

While emphasizing the importance of enhancing vaccine-induced immune responses to evolving SARS-CoV-2 variants through updated vaccine compositions, WHO also underscores the critical need for equitable access to all approved COVID-19 vaccines. This inclusive approach ensures continued protection against severe disease across diverse populations.

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