As the European Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen is still threatening to ban exports of millions of vaccine doses to the UK, MPs are holding urgent talks to manufacture Covid vaccines in the UK.
The majority of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which is used across the UK is produced in Britain with the export supplies coming from India and the EU.
The Vacinnes Minister, Nadhim Zahawi and the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng have held talks over how Britain can accelerate production of vaccines in the UK.
Work is currently underway to bring much more production of vaccine doses to the UK to counter the current threats and issues with supplies from overseas, Whitehall insiders have said.
A Downing Street source told The Sunday Telegraph there “is a lot of domestic production already” in the UK.
The added, “We are always looking at ways we can increase vaccine production in the UK.
“The government is looking at ways vaccine supplies can be increased all the time.”
Speaking The Sun on Sunday a senior government said, “We’re of the view that we need an improved security of supply.
“It’s not just for the current vaccination programme but for the long term future.
“Coronavirus is going to be with us for some time and we want to avoid supplies being held up for any reason if booster jabs are required in the years ahead.”
On Sunday the government revealed they are to spend an extra £46.7m for the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) which will open in Octover this year in Oxfordshire.
A press release said the government funding is to “expand the capacity twenty-fold so that the UK has a highly specialist manufacturing centre that, in a pandemic situation, can make up to 70m doses within a 6 month period.”
Over the weekend von der Leyen tolf the German newspaper, Funke, “We have the option of banning a planned export.
“That’s the message to AstraZeneca: you fulfil your contract with Europe first before you start supplying to other countries.”