Statement on the outcomes of the ICMRA-WHO joint workshop on COVID-19 vaccines strain change

17 April 2024 – The report of the workshop on COVID-19 vaccine strain updates, organised by the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) has been published today.

The virtual workshop was held on 26–27 February 2024 with the aim of facilitating sharing of perspectives around the process, timing and regulatory requirements of COVID-19 vaccine antigen update.

Nearly 200 participants joined the workshop, including representatives from regulatory authorities from around the world, industries as well as experts from the WHO Departments of Epidemic & Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention; Regulation and Prequalification; and Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. Also experts from the 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) have attended the meeting.

ICMRA and WHO agreed to continue their collaborative dialogue with an aim to facilitate a structured and aligned global process for COVID-19 vaccine antigen composition recommendations and regulatory approval of vaccines with an updated composition ensuring the timely availability of updated vaccines.

WHO recognizes the balance of updating vaccine composition to enhance vaccine-induced immune responses to circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, but stresses that the importance of access to and equity in the use of all available approved COVID-19 vaccines that continue to provide protection against severe disease.


ICMRA is an international executive-level coalition of nearly 40 medicines regulators from every region in the world with the WHO as an observer. This informal coalition provides strategic directions for enhanced collaboration, improved communication and approaches to jointly address common challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Its mission is to safeguard public health by facilitating strategic leadership and greater cooperation of international medicines authorities on shared regulatory issues and challenges.

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