A further 40 million additional doses of the Valneva vaccine candidate have been secured in a new deal signed by the UK Government, helping further bolster the country’s potential vaccine reserves.
The latest deal comes on the back of the UK’s investment into the same firm’s vaccine manufacturing facility in West Lothian, Scotland, which began manufacturing vaccine doses last week and reaffirmed the devolved nation’s role in long-term vaccine production.
With the additional doses secured, the total UK vaccine portfolio now sits at around 407 million doses over the next two years.
The Valneva vaccine candidate is currently going through phase I/II trials and will still need to be approved by the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), as meeting strict requirements on quality, safety and efficacy before it can be rolled out as intended at the end of the year.
If it is approved, manufacturing at risk now will ensure the UK has stocks of the vaccine ready to be rolled out at a much quicker pace.
The decision to purchase the extra 40 million doses is based on the UK strategy to take a wide approach, using different technologies and viral targets to ensure the best chance of securing access to successful vaccines as quickly as possible.
It will also give the UK future flexibility should it need to revaccinate any of the population.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This latest deal is yet another weapon in our national arsenal against this terrible disease, and will ensure we have sufficient supplies to protect the British public in 2021 and beyond.
“Backed with major investment from the UK Government, the site in Scotland will be a vaccine production powerhouse, working flat out to ensure we can quickly deploy jabs across the UK if their candidate is approved, while supporting top quality, local jobs.
“Thanks to our incredible UK Vaccine Taskforce, we have now secured a bumper portfolio of over 400 million vaccines, putting our country in an exceptionally strong position to defeat this virus once and for all.”
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “This deal provides a further boost to the UK’s already-strong vaccine portfolio, and I am enormously proud of all the work which has gone in to securing a vaccine for the UK as soon as possible.
“If approved, the Valneva vaccine will not only help tackle Covid-19 here in the UK, but aid our mission to ensure there is a fair supply of vaccines across the globe.
“No one is safe until the whole world is safe.”