Valneva’s COVID-19 vaccine gets Britain’s approval

It’s unclear what plans the U.K., which has approved another five COVID-19 vaccines, has for the shot.

On Thursday, Britain became the first European country to approve the use of Valneva's COVID-19 vaccine, boosting the French firm's shares by more than 20%. The decision comes despite the fact that London cancelled a 1.4-billion-euro ($1.5 billion) deal to buy the Valneva vaccine last September, stating the business had breached its commitments under the agreement, a claim contested by Valneva. The company said it was in discussions to supply up to 25,000 doses to the United Kingdom’s (UK) National Health Service and frontline workers in Scotland. The UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MRHA) announced the approval, stating that it was the first whole-virus inactivated COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in the country, and that the vaccine passed all safety, quality, and effectiveness requirements.

However, considering that the vaccination rate in the UK is already rather high, with roughly 73 % of the population having received two doses and about 60% having had a booster, demand prospects may be restricted. The government is also distributing fourth doses to the elderly and vulnerable. "The UK continues to have sufficient supply for its vaccination programme," a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said. Nonetheless, the regulatory approval gives the corporation a boost as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) evaluates the vaccine for approval. The European Commission has agreed to buy up to 60 million doses in advance. "We believe that this new approval could lead to additional marketing authorizations in other regions of the world," Valneva chief Thomas Lingelbach said in a statement.