(Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images)

The UK has agreed a multi-million pound joint investment with French company Valneva to upgrade a production site and increase manufacturing capacity for a possible Covid-19 vaccine.

A manufacturing facility in Livingston, West Lothian, will be at the heart of efforts to produce a new coronavirus vaccine.

The new production facility is part of an agreement in principle by the government to secure early access to 60 million doses of Valneva’s vaccine candidate.

The joint investment, made between the government and Valneva, will advance Scotland’s vaccine manufacturing capacity and support highly skilled jobs for scientists and technicians at the West Lothian site.

Currently more than 100 people are employed at the facility with a quarter of those working directly on a coronavirus vaccine.

If Valneva’s vaccine is proven to be safe and effective in clinical trials, the expanded Livingston facility could potentially supply up to 100 million vaccine doses to the UK and internationally.

Welcoming the agreement, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:  “…The multi-million-pound up-front investment we have agreed with Valneva today means that their vaccine can be manufactured in quantity right here in Scotland. If clinical trials are successful, millions of people in priority groups across the UK will be protected by their life-saving vaccine.”

The Livingston facility is in addition to the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) which is currently under construction in Oxfordshire thanks to further investment from the government.

When completed in summer 2021, the facility will have flexible capacity to manufacture millions of vaccine doses at scale.

If you want to share your stories and/or experiences with us, please send an email to [email protected]