BRAINTREE hit national headlines this week when it was announced a £100 million vaccine facility would be set up in the town.

The Government is spending the cash in the hope the state-of-the-art facility will be able to mass produce a vaccine to the deadly coronavirus.

It is also hoped the centre will be able to work on vaccines for similar viruses and infections.

The news has been welcomed by the town’s MP and it is hoped the centre will help boost the local economy.

Where will it be based?

The centre will be based in Warner Drive on the Springwood Industrial Estate.

Benchmark Vaccines’ current site will essentially be upgraded and see the company work with the Government and other leading scientists.

The upgrade will create a fully licensed manufacturing centre.


When will it open?

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre will officially be ready by December 2021.

The new centre will complement the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre currently being built in Oxfordshire.

What’s the new facility for?

It is hoped the centre will be able to produce millions of coronavirus vaccines a month if and when one is found.

But the Government also hopes the new centre will increase the UK’s ability to respond to diseases such as coronavirus and prepare for potential future pandemics, while creating new, high-skilled jobs to fuel the UK’s economic recovery.

It is hoped the new centre will also be at the forefront of the growing UK cell and gene therapy industry.

The Government is spending an additional £4.7million on new training facilities and an online learning platform to boost vaccine and cell and gene therapy skills.

What are officials saying about it?

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “We are taking all necessary steps to ensure we can vaccinate the public as soon as a successful Covid-19 vaccine becomes available.

“This new Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre, alongside crucial investment in skills, will support our efforts to rapidly produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine while ensuring the UK can respond quickly to potential future pandemics.”


Vaccines Taskforce chairman Kate Bingham said: “Today’s announcement is another important milestone for us. The work of the Vaccines Taskforce is focused on protecting the UK against Covid-19 through vaccination as quickly as possible.

“In order to vaccinate our high-risk populations at the earliest opportunity, the Government has agreed to proactively manufacture vaccines now, so we have millions of doses of vaccine ready if they are shown to be safe and effective.

“The acquisition of this state-of-the-art manufacturing centre will not only help us with this, but also ensures we are well-placed as a country to be able to cope with any pandemics or health crises in the future.”

What will it mean for Braintree?

The new centre will, according to the town’s MP, help put Braintree at the centre of the UK’s health strategy in the coming years.

James Cleverly also hopes it will provide economic benefits for the town in general.

He said in a statement on Facebook: I’m incredibly pleased that Braintree has been chosen as the location for a new state-of-the-art centre to manufacture millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"£100 million will be invested to scale up COVID-19 vaccine and gene therapy anufacturing, with an additional £4.7 million for new training facilities and an online learning platform to boost vaccine and cell and gene therapy skills.


“The new centre will be key for the UK’s response to current and future diseases like coronavirus.

“Between the centre in Braintree and the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre under construction in Oxfordshire, we will have the capacity to produce enough vaccines to serve to entire UK population.

“Employment in the cell and gene therapy sector is predicted to reach over 6,000 jobs by 2024, with over 3,000 in manufacturing and bioprocessing.

“It is excellent news that many of these new, high-skilled jobs fuelling the UK’s economic recovery will be in Braintree.

“I am proud that Braintree will be at the heart of our national health strategy for many years to come.”