FRANKFURT - A European health emergency official on Wednesday said adapted versions of established mRNA COVID-19 vaccines that address two variants in one shot will soon offer people better protection than vaccines that are now available.

Moderna and the BioNTech-Pfizer alliance are working on vaccines based on a combination of the original Wuhan virus and an Omicron subvariant. Referred to as bivalent shots, these would be used in an autumn vaccination campaign.

"Whatever bivalent vaccine will be available will be a good one. It will be better than the current vaccines," the director of the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority, Pierre Delsaux, told members of the European Parliament in a hearing.

He did not take a side in the ongoing discussion among European regulators and vaccine makers over what subtype of the Omicron such adapted shots should be modelled on.

The European Medicines Agency has not yet expressed a clear preference for the subvariant - BA.1 or BA.4/BA.5 - that these shots should be based on.

BioNTech and Pfizer have also proposed a shot based on one Omicron subvariant only.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Natalie Grover in London)