Britain on Thursday approved Valneva's Covid-19 vaccine, making it the first European country to give a nod to the French firm's coronavirus shot that is easier to store and involves a process widely used in making flu and polio vaccines.
The shot is also the sixth Covid-19 vaccine to be approved in the UK.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, UK's independent medicines regulator, said Valneva's Covid-19 vaccine met the required safety, quality and effectiveness standards.
"It (Valneva shot) is also the first, whole-virus inactivated Covid-19 vaccine to gain regulatory approval in the UK," the regulator said in a statement.
In vaccines such as the one developed by Valneva, the virus is grown in a lab and then made completely inactive so that it cannot infect cells or replicate in the body but can still trigger an immune response to the novel coronavirus.
The shot's storage temperature — of 2°C to 8°C — is similar to that of a domestic refrigerator, making it appropriate for use in countries where storage at very low temperatures is a challenge.
Valneva had said in March it expected a positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency this month for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.