Health Policy
Government announces £100m investment for Covid-19 vaccine production  

By David Forrest - Integrated Care Journal

The ability for the UK to manufacture vaccines has received a substantial boost, following the announcement of an additional £100 million to ensure successful Covid-19 vaccines can be produced at scale.

The investment will upgrade a preexisting facility in Braintree, Essex to create a fully licensed vaccine manufacturing centre. Once complete, it will have the capacity to create millions of doses of vaccines each month, ensuring that demand can be met once a vaccine is in mass production.

“The funding will help accelerate the manufacturing capacity and capability of the UK, ensuring that the successful Covid-19 vaccine candidate can be scaled-up as soon as possible,” says Steve Bates OBE of the BioIndustry Association.

“Today’s announcement will not only allow us to respond to immediate threats such as Covid-19, but will enable us to manufacture vaccines for emerging diseases that we may face in the future.

The development also expects to be able to cut down the time taken for new treatments to be delivered to patients suffering from diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

"This new Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre, alongside crucial investment in skills, will support our efforts to rapidly produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine while ensuring the UK can respond quickly to potential future pandemics," says Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.

The new centre will complement the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), which is currently under construction in Oxfordshire and is expected to create over 6,000 jobs by 2024, with over 3,000 in manufacturing and bioprocessing.

To support these enhanced vaccine manufacturing capabilities, the government has announced a further investment of £4.7 million for additional training for staff.

The training will provide employees with industry-standard skills, including sterile techniques for Good Manufacturing Practice which is the minimum standard that a medicines manufacturer must meet in their production processes.

While the new centre is under construction, the government has announced £38 million to establish a rapid deployment facility set to open later this summer. This will support the distribution of any vaccine produced.

“In order to vaccinate our high-risk populations at the earliest opportunity, the government has agreed to proactively manufacture vaccines now, so we have millions of doses of vaccine ready if they are shown to be safe and effective,” says Kate Bingham, Chair of the Vaccines Taskforce.

“The acquisition of this state-of-the-art manufacturing centre will not only help us with this, but also ensures we are well-placed as a country to be able to cope with any pandemics or health crises in the future. ”  

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