The U.K. has ordered another 40 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the French company Valneva as the government prepares for the likelihood that repeated vaccinations will be needed to keep the virus in check.
Britain had previously ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine and retains an option for 90 million more. The total value of the 190 million doses is 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion), Valneva said in a statement.
If the U.K. exercises all of its options, Valneva's deliveries would continue through 2025, the company said. The vaccine, which will be made in Scotland, is still undergoing clinical trials and hasn’t been approved by regulators.
“The Valneva vaccine showcases the best of Scottish expertise right at the heart of our U.K. vaccine endeavor, demonstrating the strength of our union and what the U.K. can achieve when it works together,'' Health Secretary Matt Hancock said. “If the vaccine is authorized by the health regulator, it will be rolled out across the four nations as quickly as possible.”
Britain has seen the deadliest coronavirus outbreak in Europe — with over 106,000 confirmed victims — but it is pushing ahead with one of the world's quickest vaccine programs.
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