Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Billingham plant where 60 million Covid vaccine doses could be manufactured

The Prime Minister has toured Fujifilm Diosynth’s Billingham Biocampus where 60 million doses of the Novavax will potentially be manufactured.

Saturday, 13th February 2021, 2:10 pm

Boris Johnson was shown around the state-of-the-art plant by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen on Saturday, February 13.

If cleared for use, the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’s plant on Belasis Avenue in Billingham will manufacture 60 million doses.

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Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, left, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, centre, at Fujifilm Diosynth, in Billingham, on Saturday, February 13.

It is hoped the medical regulator will give the jab the green-light in the next few months, with the vaccine being delivered in the second half of this year.

The vaccine passed its UK clinical trial last month and is said to be effective in preventing coronavirus, including against the new UK variant.

Mayor Houchen said: “It was great to be able to show off Teesside and the amazing work our local scientists and businesses are doing to fight the coronavirus.

"The Novavax vaccine will be another weapon in our armoury against the Coronavirus and I was proud to be able to show the Prime Minister around the world-class manufacturing facility Fujifilm Diosynth has developed here and the Teesside vaccine it will produce.

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“Teesside has a hugely talented and world leading bioscience sector and the fact the UK’s entire order of 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine will be produced here in Teesside, by local scientists, highlights the critical role our region is playing in the global fight against this horrendous virus.

“As a region Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool have an enviable reputation the world over as a centre of excellence when it comes to engineering, chemicals and processing, but now our hugely impressive bioscience sector is getting the praise it rightly deserves.

Mr Johnson, while optimistic about setting out the easing of restrictions on February 22, added a note of caution by saying: “We have made huge progress with the rollout of the vaccines. That is great.

“But we have still got infections running very high throughout the country, levels which last year we would have thought were really very high indeed and still sadly a great many deaths in our hospitals.”

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