Analysis by science correspondent Thomas Moore
The decision by the government to cancel the contract for millions of doses of a more variant-proof vaccine was “short-sighted”, according to the former head of the Vaccines Taskforce.
Dame Kate Bingham seemed utterly bemused by the thinking behind the decision earlier this year as she gave evidence at the Science and Technology Committee.
She said the Valneva vaccine was based on the whole COVID virus, rather than just the spike protein. And that would mean it gives much broader protection against mutations.
Dame Kate told MPs that the government had taken the decision that the vaccine wasn’t needed for its booster programme and cancelled the contract for 100 million doses.
But she said even if the doses were not needed here they could have been sent to countries that are in desperate need for vaccine.
The UK built a world-leading portfolio of vaccines under Dame Kate’s leadership.
But she said while the vaccines had proved a success, a new generation of jabs was now needed that get ahead of the evolving virus and are ready to take on mutations.