The Anonymous Widower

GSK To Manufacture 60m Doses Of Novavax Covid Vaccine In UK

The title of this post is the same as that as this article in the Financial Times.

As the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, that is enough for thirty million people.

Wikipedia gives brief details of the the manufacturing of the vaccine for Canada and the UK in this section entitled Deployment.

On 2 February 2021, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada has signed a tentative agreement for Novavax to produce millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Montreal, Canada, once it is approved for use by Health Canada, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to be produced domestically.

On 29th March 2021, the UK government announced an order for 60 million doses of the Novax vaccine, which will be manufactured in the UK. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies and GlaxoSmithKline will manufacture and fill the orders respectively.

This Google Map shows Barnard Castle in relation to Teesside.


  • The red arrow in the South-West corner of the map indicates the GSK factory at Barnard Castle.
  • Teesside is the estuary at the Eastern edge of the map.
  • FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies are located in Billingham, which is on the North bank of the Tees.

The two sites are under an hour apart.

This page on the UK Government web site gives details of the vaccines ordered.

  • Adenovirus – Oxford/AstraZeneca –  100 million – Approved and in deployment
    Adenovirus – Janssen – 30 million – Phase 3 trials
    mRNA – Pfizer/BioNTech – 40 million – Approved and in deployment
    mRNA – Moderna – 17 million – Approved
    Protein Adjuvant – GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi Pasteur – 60 million – Phase 1/2 trials
    Protein Adjuvant – Novavax 60 million – Phase 3 trials
    Inactivated whole virus – Valneva – 60 million – Phase 1/2 trials


  1. Type, manufacturer, number and status are shown for each vaccine.
  2. This is a total of 567 million doses.

It looks to me, that backing four different technologies and seven different partnerships or companies was a successful strategy, as if the Novavax vaccine get approval, as serious commentators like Fergus Walsh of the BBC, think it will, picking four winners in a seven horse race.

GlaxoSmithKline appear to be a big loser in that they backed the French Sanofi Pasteur vaccine, which is still in Phase 1/2 trials. Wikipedia has a section entitled Deployment.

In July 2020, the UK government signed up for 60 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by GSK and Sanofi. It uses a recombinant protein-based technology from Sanofi and GSK’s pandemic technology. The companies claimed to be able to produce one billion doses, subject to successful trials and regulatory approval, during the first half of 2021. The company also agreed to a $2.1 billion deal with the United States to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine.

Someone appears to have lost billions.

I wonder though, if GSK had developed a plan to fill and finish the sixty million doses for the UK.

So have the fixers in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) matched  FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies vaccine manufacturing to GSK’s fill and finish plan to give Novavax a 60 million dose capacity in the UK?

  • Both vaccines are of the same type, so can one fill and finish line handle both?
  • The Novavax vaccine was trialled in the UK.
  • Supplying Europe from Teesside would not be difficult.

Wikipedia seems to indicate, that Novavax like to spread production around. Spain, India and Poland are mentioned.


Every one of sixty million jabs helps.

President Macron was unavailable for comment.

March 29, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

Covid: What’s Happening To The EU Vaccine Scheme?

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the introductory paragraphs.

The European Union has been criticised for the slow pace of coronavirus vaccinations in member states.

It has introduced export controls on vaccines produced in the EU after the roll-out was hit by delays and supply problems.

The delays and supply problems seem to concern the AstraZeneca plant in Belgium. Get that running flat out would surely help to solve the problem.

Wikipedia has an interesting statement under Production and Supply for the AZ vaccine, in the Wikipedia entry for the vaccine.

On 13 June 2020, AstraZeneca signed a contract with the Inclusive Vaccines Alliance, a group formed by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, to supply up to 400 million doses to all European Union member states. However, the European Commission intervened to stop the deal being formalised. It took over negotiations on behalf of the whole EU, signing a deal at the end of August.

It looks to me that the EU strangled a deal that could have saved their bacon, if Wikipedia is correct.

  • Did the delay mean that AstraZeneca delayed completing their European factories, as they were worried about getting any order at all?
  • Sometimes, it is difficult financing firm orders, let alone ones that might be cancelled at the whim of politicians.
  • Was Macron hoping the French vaccine was coming through and so could replace the AstraZeneca vaccine? But it didn’t appear, so the EU had to go cap-in-hand to AstraZeneca, who now had the problem of getting the equipment from suppliers, they’d mucked about.

It looks to me like an almighty coq-up!

The section about the Oxford vaccine in Wikipedia, also says that the vaccine has been licenced to the US, Argentina for Latin America and India and that production from the UK and EU factories will be between 100 and 200 million doses per month, when up to full speed.

Those production figures look like they could satisfy the UK’s order for 100 million doses and 400 million for the EU, if AstraZeneca can get the Belgian plant fully working.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a solution something like this.

  • Novavax gets UK certification very soon.
  • Novavax starts supplying doses to the UK, in perhaps March.
  • AstraZeneca sends some UK vaccine to the EU, with Novavax keeping the vaccination rate high.
  • AstraZeneca gets their EU factories up to speed in something like June.
  • The EU gets its vaccines and is now able to vaccinate at a vaguely acceptable rate if they get their systems right.
  • Moderna comes on stream around the middle of the year.
  • The UK has adequate deliveries of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer vaccines and starts mass vaccination for everyone, around the start of September.

If the EU had allowed the original deal to proceed for EU vaccines, the timescales would probably be have been three months earlier.


The EU will get its vaccines, but later than if they’d placed their orders at the same time as the UK did.

January 30, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment