POLITICIANS have reacted to an announcement that a Teesside manufacturing plant will be making 60 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Billingham will make 60 million doses of the Novavax Covid vaccine, bosses have claimed this could be up and running in just two months.

Jessie Joe Jacobs, Labour candidate for Tees Valley Mayor, said: "Today is a proud day for Teesside. I know our area has great potential, and this announcement proves it. Teesside is stepping up and playing its part in tackling this virus.

“A huge congratulations and thanks to the team at Fujifilm Diosynth in Billingham who are shining a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Vaccination will end this pandemic and get us out of lockdown safely. 60 million more doses is a great step forward. 

“Having spent 3 years in a lab as a pharmacologist during my undergraduate studies, I understand the dedication and commitment required by those designing, researching and manufacturing drugs. We have a fantastic science sector on Teesside, and I hope this announcement inspires people to enter the field, and hopefully create jobs too.

“Everyone in the Fujifilm team – and every Teessider – should be incredibly proud."

The Novavax vaccine has been shown to be 89 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19.

Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham said: “I’ve always said that vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic, and I very much welcome the news that the Government has ordered 60 million doses of Novavax. This is another positive step in ensuring everyone can be vaccinated, and kept safe from this life-threatening virus.

“Like all Teessiders, I’m hugely proud about the news that all 60 million doses will be manufactured at Fujifilm Diosynth in Billingham. We have a fantastic chemical and science sector, a sector I’ve worked with closely as MP for Stockton North, and it’s fantastic to see our local experts taking a leading role in the battle against coronavirus.”

The Novavax vaccine works like other vaccines by teaching the immune system to make antibodies to the coronavirus spike protein.

Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, said: “The news that the Novavax vaccine, made right here on Teesside, is showing to be so effective against Covid is incredibly positive. It is testament to the world class facilities we have here on our doorstep and the skills of all those involved. It now enters the phase of assessment by the UK’s medicines regulator. Well done to everyone involved.”