Valneva Begins Production of COVID-19 Vaccine in Scotland

Valneva Begins Production of COVID-19 Vaccine in Scotland
An illustration picture shows vials with COVID-19 vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of French-Austrian vaccine firm Valneva on Nov. 17, 2020. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)
Alexander Zhang

French company Valneva has started commercial manufacturing of its COVID-19 vaccine in Scotland, the UK government announced on Thursday.

The UK government has purchased 60 million doses of the vaccine, with an option to acquire a further 130 million if it is approved, the government said in a press release.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is on a one-day visit to Scotland on Thursday, welcomed the “brilliant” news on Twitter, which he said would create 100 high-skilled jobs at the site in Livingston, West Lothian.

Valneva’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate is currently undergoing trials and will need to receive regulatory approval before it is rolled out at the end of the year.

The company said on Thursday that 150 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years have been recruited for a clinical study, which commenced mid-December and is expected to report initial results in April 2021.

If the jab gets approved by UK regulators, the Livingston facility will be able to produce up to 250 million doses of the vaccine every year for shipment across the UK and around the world.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said that, by starting manufacturing before regulatory approval, the UK “will have a running start at rolling these out as quickly as possible to protect the British public” once approval is obtained.

“This facility in Scotland, backed by millions from the Government, will help us beat coronavirus and boost our resilience against future pandemics,” he said in a statement.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock stressed the importance of national unity in the fight against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

“Set to deliver millions more jabs across all four nations, this is yet another fantastic example of the strength of our Union, as we work together as one United Kingdom to tackle the virus,” he said.

The UK has so far approved three COVID-19 vaccines developed respectively by Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, and Moderna.