According to Boris Johnson, the Novavax vaccine is already being made in the UK – with up to 60 million doses to be made after signing a contract with a pharmaceutical giant.
The Prime Minister said GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will provide “fill and end capacity” for the vaccine at its Barnard Castle facility in the northeast.
Speaking at a press conference in Downing Street, he said the collaboration would “give us between 50 and 60 million doses of vaccine from the UK,” subject to regulatory approval.
When asked when the vaccine will be available, Mr Johnson says that the Novavax vaccine is already made in the UK – but it has not yet been approved by the MHRA (Medicines and Health Products Regulator).
The protein antigen component of the vaccine is manufactured in the northeast by Novavax manufacturing partner Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies at its Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees site.
The sting offers 100% protection from serious illness, including all hospitalizations and deaths, according to the results of a phase three UK trial announced in March.
It’s 86% effective against the Kent variant, said the company behind it, and it’s also 96% effective in preventing cases caused by the original strain of coronavirus.
The MHRA is currently conducting an ongoing review to evaluate the vaccine.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the benefits of exercise to strengthen the UK’s “resilience” to the virus, saying, “Personally, I’m thrilled to be able to play tennis, for example.
“Without preaching from afar, I hope that we can use this moment and the beautiful weather to do sports, play sports, have fun and in this way also strengthen our national resilience.”