UK hits EU with COVID vaccine whammy

The British government has signed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline to support the manufacturing of up to 60million doses of the Novavax coronavirus vaccine in the UK.

This comes amid a vaccine war between the UK and EU which has seen the European Commission threaten to block supplies of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines made on the continent from being shipped to Britain.

The deal means the Novavax jabs will not have to leave the UK. The raw chemicals are being produced at a site in Stockton-on-Tees, but the original plan was for the vials to be prepared and packaged in Europe.

Britain has secured 60million doses of the two-shot Novavax vaccine under an advance purchase agreement with the American firm, enough to fully vaccinate 30m Brits. Earlier this month Novavax announced its jab was 89 per cent effective at blocking symptomatic illness and stopped 100 per cent of hospital admissions and deaths. This comes after EU Commissioner Thierry Breton claimed that the UK is "totally dependent" on the EU for its vaccine rollout.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: "I'm delighted by GSK's investment, which shows the strength of UK manufacturing, and will further boost our vaccine rollout.

"The vaccines taskforce has worked hand in glove with business to successfully deliver vaccines to the whole of the UK and this agreement will continue to support our approach.

'We remain on track to offer a first jab to all over-50s by April 15, and all adults by the end of July, and I want to once again encourage everyone to come forward for a vaccine when you're called."

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EUToday Correspondents

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