- Replacement doses, as well as the next batch of jabs, will be sent as soon as the government closes its investigation into packaging defects
- Health officials suspended the vaccine roll-out scheme last week as a safety precaution
Fosun Pharma, the distributor of BioNTech vaccines in Hong Kong and Macau, said that a new batch of doses is ready to be shipped, pending the results of the investigation into packaging defects which had halted the cities’ roll-out of the jabs.
The replacement batch, as well as the next batch, will be sent pending the results of the investigation, Fosun Pharma’s chairman and chief executive Wu Yifang said in an interview on Tuesday. An announcement regarding the investigation’s outcome will be made in the next couple of days, he said.
“There will definitely be a new batch of [vaccines] for Hong Kong and Macau, to resolve issues about continuing the vaccination programme,” said Wu.
The third batch of BioNTech vaccines was “already prepared, but we must ensure that the investigation is complete, without any potential uncertainties,” Wu added. “Vaccines are preventive products, and must [adhere to] the highest requirements.”
Hong Kong’s health officials last Wednesday abruptly stopped the city’s BioNTech vaccination roll-out on the advice of the vaccine’s supplier, after the scheme’s frontline staff identified more than 50 defects to vials, including cracks and leaks, as well as stains on their exterior, in the first batch numbered “210102”. About a quarter, or 150,000 of the 585,000 doses in the first batch, had been used so far.
Vaccinations of the affected batch, as well as 758,000 doses of batch number 210104 currently in storage were halted by health officials as a safety precaution. The government has stressed that neither batch posed any safety risk.
As of Monday, 450,500 people, or 6 per cent of the city’s 7.5 million population, had received their first dose of a vaccine. Around 151,300 had taken the BioNTech one, while another 299,200 had received the jab by Chinese vaccine developer Sinovac Biotech, according to government data. About 24,600 recipients, or 0.33 per cent of the population, had received their second Sinovac shot.