‘What happened?’ Emmanuel Macron under pressure after UK first to secure French vaccine

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Britain has managed to secure 407 million doses of different coronavirus jabs which is more than enough to inoculate the whole population. The French vaccine was financially backed by Britain as President Macron’s government only part-funded research by the Franco-Austrian startup.

The jab was developed at the pharmaceutical company’s headquarters near Nantes in the Loire region.

Christelle Morancais, regional council president for the Loire region, told the Telegraph: “What happened in the UK? They rolled out the red carpet for this company.

“They helped with financing, installation. They’ve done everything to make it happened and we haven’t been able to do that.”

The UK backed the development of the French vaccine and secured an initial agreement to supply 60 million doses from a plant in Livingston, West Lothian in Scotland.

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The Valneva vaccine should become available to the UK later this year.

However, France is unlikely to receive the jab until 2022.

Frank Grimaud, chief executive at Valneva, told the Telegraph: “We have a manufacturing factory in Scotland nearby Edinburgh and it was considered very quickly by the UK as a very important asset.

“So that is why it was in a way natural to find very quickly an agreement to develop an inactivated vaccine and to develop our manufacturing capacity.”

Critics of President Macron have claimed that France’s failure to support the Valneva vaccine development is a sign of the Government’s poor management.

Mr Macron’s far-right opposition, Marine Le Pen, has said: “We are above all paying for the abandonment of our sovereignty in favour of other emerging powers in globalisation.”

France has already faced vaccine shortages after procuring its supplies through the European Commission who have suffered shortages of the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca jabs.

The Valneva jab is still being tested in trials.

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Although the trials will take time to meet regulatory requirements for rollout, manufacturing has already begun at the Scottish site.

Last week, Boris Johnson visited the Valneva vaccine laboratory in Scotland.

However, after his trip reports suggested the Prime Minister visited the lab despite being aware of a coronavirus outbreak at the site.

Earlier this week, Mr Johnson defended his decision to visit the site after critics claimed his actions were “reckless” and “irresponsible”.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford claimed the Prime Minister had made a “shocking error of judgment”.

The Daily Record reported that Downing Street had been informed about the outbreak at the site before Mr Johnson’s visit.

The Prime Minister claimed “nobody raised that issue with me before or since”.

He told Mr Blackford: “I can think few things more important than to see the rollout of the vaccination programme across this country.

“To encourage the wonderful companies who are doing great work across the whole of Scotland.

“To see the commitment of those Scottish scientists to helping us all defeat the pandemic, and it was fantastic to talk to them.”

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