A "next generation" Covid-19 vaccine targetting two variants at once has been approved for use in booster jabs. 

The 'bivalent' vaccine, developed by Moderna, is effective against the original coronavirus strain but also the more dominant Omicron variant. 

On Monday, the 'Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron’ was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in Great Britain. 

Clinical trials of the booster showed that it provided strong immune protection from both Omicron BA.1 and the 2020 strain. 

It could also generate a good immune response against variants BA.4 and BA.5, which have been driving the Scottish cases in recent months, an exploratory analysis found. 

The side effects observed were the same as those seen for the original Moderna booster dose and were typically mild and self-resolving. No serious safety concerns were identified. 

READ MORE: All Scots above age of 50 offered another Covid booster from September

MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine described the new jab as providing a "sharpened tool in our armoury to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve".

She said: “I am pleased to announce the approval of the Moderna bivalent booster vaccine, which was found in the clinical trial to provide a strong immune response against the Omicron BA.1 variant as well as the original 2020 strain.

“The first generation of Covid-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives. What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armoury to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve.

“We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved Covid-19 vaccines and this will include the vaccine approved today.”

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is yet to advise on how the vaccine should be offered. 

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chair of the commission on human medicines said:“The Commission on Human Medicines and its Covid-19 Vaccines Expert Working Group has independently reviewed the data on safety, quality and effectiveness and agrees with the MHRA’s decision.”

“The virus, SARS-CoV-2, is continually evolving in order to evade the immunity provided by vaccines. This novel bivalent vaccine represents the next step in the development of vaccines to combat the virus, with its ability to lead to a broader immune response than the original vaccine.”