Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has said the decision to scrap a vaccine contract with a company which has a factory in Livingston was done “unilaterally” by the UK Government.
On Monday, it was announced that the UK’s deal with French firm Valneva because of a “breach of obligations”, although it is not clear what specifically the company is alleged to have done.
The UK was set to receive a total of 100 million doses of the company’s vaccine VLA2001 – with the decision made in February to up the number by 40 million.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid a visit to the West Lothian site where the vaccine was being developed in the same month.
When asked in Holyrood about the decision, Mr Yousaf said: “The decision to terminate Valneva’s contract was one taken unilaterally by the UK Government.
“We are in discussion with the UK Government over Valneva’s alleged failure to meet the terms of its contract, and we are awaiting further information.”
Mr Yousaf went on to say that they were working “to secure the future of the site” and business minister Ivan McKee would be meeting with bosses in the near future.
“The announcement to terminate the contract does not affect the Scottish Government’s vaccination programme, which we continue to roll out as guided by advice from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation).”
The Health Secretary confirmed later there is also no expected supply issue after the decision to offer vaccinations to 12 to 15-year-olds and booster jabs to certain groups was taken account of.
Green MSP Gillian Mackay said the Valneva vaccine could have been more effective against Covid-19 variants, and asked the Health Secretary what impact the cancellation could have on the ability to defend the country against mutations of the virus.
“I think it would be important for the UK Government to publish, when appropriate because I know there are commercial sensitivities around these matters, these results of the clinical trials under way.”
Mr Yousaf added: “We, certainly, as a government, will do everything we can to ensure we can provide as much security for the site as we possibly can.”
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