The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has taken a significant step towards bolstering the country’s pandemic preparedness by finalizing an advance purchase agreement (APA) with healthcare company CSL Seqirus. Under this agreement, CSL Seqirus will stand ready to manufacture over 100 million influenza pandemic vaccines within the UK if and when the need arises.
While UKHSA and its predecessor organizations have had similar agreements in the past, this partnership marks a milestone as it establishes the entire vaccine manufacturing process within the UK. This move provides better security of access to vaccines, especially when global demand potentially surpasses supply.
The vaccines produced through this agreement will undergo rigorous testing, licensing, and approval processes. They will be specifically tailored to combat the pandemic flu strain identified at the time. In the event of a pandemic declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO), CSL Seqirus’s existing manufacturing plant in Liverpool will be utilized for production.
Professor Dame Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of UKHSA, emphasized the critical importance of effective vaccines during pandemic events. She stated, “This agreement represents a major step forward in our preparedness against future influenza pandemics.” Manufacturing these life-saving vaccines within the UK ensures faster and more secure access, enabling a rapid response to those in need.
Vaccines Minister Maria Caulfield praised the deal with CSL Seqirus, emphasizing that it places the UK in a proactive position to address future influenza pandemics. The agreement ensures that vaccines are manufactured domestically, allowing swift distribution regardless of global demand and potentially saving thousands of lives.
Marc Lacey, Global Executive Director at CSL Seqirus, expressed the company’s commitment to pandemic influenza preparedness.
Influenza pandemics, distinct from seasonal or avian influenza, can arise unpredictably and pose significant health security concerns. Historic pandemics, such as the one in 1918, have had devastating global consequences. The ability to rapidly manufacture vaccines within the UK enhances the nation’s resilience against the potential impact of future influenza pandemics, reaffirming its commitment to public health and safety.