- A new shipment of the German-made Pfizer jab will arrive soon; appointments booked during the suspension will be rescheduled
- Those needing the second dose will take first priority with rebookings
Hong Kong’s BioNTech vaccine rollout will resume on Monday after a 12-day suspension, health officials announced today, and those whose bookings were scheduled during the halt will be allocated new time slots that can be changed when the booking system reopens at 9am on Saturday.
A mid-term investigation report submitted by BioNTech to the Department of Health today showed that the packaging defects concerning the lids of the vials were due to the crimping process and ultra-low storage temperature.
“As the BioNTech vaccines were not found to have quality or safety issues, and the new batch of 300,000 doses is expected to arrive in Hong Kong [on Friday], the government decided to resume vaccinating on Monday, April 5,” said Secretary for Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, who oversees the inoculation programme.
The new batch will be used first as the roll-out restarts, while the two batches already in stock, 210102 and 210104, will be kept in storage until the manufacturer finishes its investigative report.
Nip said about 183,000 people had been booked to receive either their first or second dose of the BioNTech jab during the suspended period. Among them, about 30,000 people were scheduled to get their second jab and would need to be vaccinated as soon as possible to develop immunity.
Those scheduled to take their second shot on April 4 or earlier will now be allocated a time slot between April 5 and 10.
The government will also assign new time slots for those who had booked their first shots to take place during the suspended period.
“Those two groups, starting from April 2, will receive an SMS concerning their bookings,” Nip said.
“If they are not available on the allocated date and time, they can change their appointment when the online booking system reopens at 9am on [Saturday].”
Those whose bookings were already scheduled for April 5 or beyond can show up for vaccination according to their original schedule and with no rebooking needed, Nip added.