A COVID-19 vaccine that is being produced in Scotland has been given the green light by healthcare authorities – months after the UK Government “inexplicably” cancelled an order for 100 million doses.

French firm Valneva, which has a factory in Livingston, was highly critical of Tory ministers after they axed the contract in September due to an alleged “breach of obligations”.

The jag developed by the company has now become the sixth Covid-19 vaccine to be granted authorisation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The independent medicines regulator is the first in the world to approve the Valneva product, MHRA said in a statement.

The UK Government’s decision to cancel the deal sparked fears of job losses at the Livingston site as the company’s share price plummeted by around 50%.

The former chairwoman of the UK vaccine taskforce last year said the Tory government may have “acted in bad faith” in the way it cancelled the deal for the Valneva vaccine.

The National:

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Dame Kate Bingham, who stood down from her role at the end of 2020, criticised the decision to pull out of the agreement before Valneva had finished clinical testing of the vaccine.

The “inexplicable” decision was not only a blow to international pandemic efforts, but would dampen the UK’s resilience to future disease outbreaks, Bingham said in a speech at Oxford University in November.

SNP MP Hannah Bardell, who represents Livingston and raised the plight of Valneva workers in Parliament last year, tweeted: “This is a huge moment, well done to everyone at @valnevaSE who worked so hard to make this happen!”

It comes as the number of deaths involving coronavirus registered each week in England and Wales continues to rise, although levels remain well below those reached during previous waves of the virus.

The NHS Confederation has said very high rates of Covid-19 infections are having a “major impact” on the health service, which is facing pressures it would see in a “bad winter” well into spring.

But Downing Street has rejected the call to reintroduce greater mask-wearing and a push to encourage mixing outdoors.