- The Hong Kong Government is erring on the side of caution and is also suspending a second batch – number 210104.
- According to a Hong Kong professor, there is no evidence that the packing issues pose a safety risk.
- Macau is following suit but is so far only suspending the first named batch of shots.
In the interest of public safety, Hong Kong COVID-19 vaccines have been suspended as the issue of improper packaging of 2 sets of vaccines is being investigated. The BioNTech vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, and the Chinese-made version from Sinovac are the only 2 vaccines currently available in Hong Kong.
As of 8 pm on Tuesday, Hong Kong government statistics showed a total of 403,000 people, or about 5.3 percent of the city’s population, had been vaccinated. Of those, 150,200 had received the first shot of the BioNTech vaccine, compared with 252,880 for the Sinovac one.
The Department of Health is due to hold an emergency meeting on the incident with Fosun Pharma, which is delivering the jab jointly developed by BioNTech and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
About two hours before the Hong Kong administration’s statement, Macau confirmed that its residents would not be receiving vaccines from the 210102 batch as well. A notice from the Macau government said although the vaccines in question do not pose any risks, BioNTech and Fosun has requested the suspension until their investigations have been completed.
University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung said the city would take the same precautionary measures as Macau, but the professor stressed that so far there was no evidence of any safety risks arising from the packaging issues.
Pictures posted on social media showed signs outside a Hong Kong vaccination center saying the government was expected to make a special announcement later on Wednesday relating to its operation.