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PM urged to explain Valneva contract cancellation

Valneva Covid vaccine

Valneva was due to deliver 190 million doses

An SNP MP has urged the Prime Minister to explain the UK Government’s decision to cancel a contract with Valneva to supply Covid vaccines from its Livingston plant.

The contract worth £1.3 billion to supply 190 million doses over five years was terminated in September by the UK government which claimed the company was in breach of contract.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Livingston MP Hannah Bardell said no reason has been given for the cancellation and no apology offered to the company or those who took place in trials.

Ms Bardell’s demand comes after the former chairman of the UK’s vaccine taskforce, Dame Kate Bingham, told an audience in Oxford that the UK government “acted in bad faith” when it cancelled the contract.

Ms Bardell said the government’s decision had left the Valneva workforce extremely apprehensive about the future.  

“Boris Johnson made great play when he visited Valneva earlier this year – posing for pictures and talking up the UK’s vaccine rollout,” she said.

“He must now put his money where his mouth is and back this workforce in my Livingston constituency. New hires were made to support the UK’s order – and after his decision a new state-of-the-art, and much needed, vaccine manufacturing plant lies unfinished.  

“I gave the Prime Minister an opportunity today to apologise for the lack of transparency on this issue – he failed to do so. 

“Although I was pleased to see him commit to a discussion in person, I will not rest until the record is straight.

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“The workforce at Valneva deserve transparency, and I will not stop until they have it.”

Earlier this week Dame Kate, who stood down from the government taskforce at the end of last year, told an audience at Oxford University: “The Government alleged a breach of contract, apparently as a means to avoid paying for the costs incurred up to that point. 

“Some might consider this behaviour as acting in bad faith.”

She said the decision was wrong as the vaccine was found to be highly effective.

On Tuesday Valneva announced that it has signed an Advance Purchase Agreement (APA) with the European Commission to supply up to 60 million doses of its inactivated COVID-19 vaccine over two years.

The agreement follows an announcement earlier this month that the EC had approved the APA.



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