© Reuters. GSK logo is seen in this illustration taken on January 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) -British drugmaker GSK said on Monday its vaccine, Priorix, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) in those aged one year and above.

The vaccine can be given as two doses, and may also be administered as a second shot to individuals who were previously vaccinated with a first dose of another MMR-containing vaccine, GSK said.

Child vaccination rates in the United States fell during the COVID-19 pandemic as many children skipped doctor appointments and states eased vaccine requirements during remote learning, according to a government study https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-child-vaccination-rates-dip-during-pandemic-study-2022-04-21 released last month.

“We’re proud to make Priorix available in the U.S. for the first time, adding a choice for providers to help protect patients against these highly-contagious diseases,” GSK Head of U.S. Vaccines Judy Stewart said.

In recent years, measles outbreaks have occurred globally with more than 400,000 cases confirmed in 2019 – a setback in the progress towards eliminating the disease in many countries.

Priorix, Priorix Tetra and chickenpox vaccine Varilrix contributed about 260 million pounds ($325.99 million) to GSK’s vaccines turnover last year.

GSK, which is spinning off its consumer health business, is sharpening its focus on vaccines and prescription drugs.

($1 = 0.7976 pounds)

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