French vaccine maker’s gain is Britain’s loss

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A nurse draws a dose of the BioNtech vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a vaccination centre at the Dresden Fair, in Dresden, Germany, July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel

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LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Britain may rue its decision to cancel 100 million doses of a now-promising Covid-19 shot. French biotechnology company Valneva (VLS.PA)said on Monday that its vaccine, which targets the virus in multiple ways, showed promise in a late stage trial and had fewer side effects than the University of Oxford jab developed with AstraZeneca (AZN.L). Valneva’s shares jumped by a third, reversing much of the damage caused by Prime Minister Boris Johnson spiking Britain’s order.

Valneva’s shot could be particularly potent. The technology behind it is more traditional, having been tried and tested in ordinary flu vaccines. For holdouts worried about the long-term effects of relatively untested development technologies, this may be a more reassuring option. It also appears to be good value for money. The UK’s order worked out at just over 7 euros per jab, less than half the price of the Pfizer (PFE.N) shot. Britain’s decision to scrap a relatively cheap and effective vaccine is looking foolhardy. (By Aimee Donnellan)

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Editing Ed Cropley and Oliver Taslic

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