Hong Kong suspends Pfizer vaccines over packaging defects
(Sourced from PTI)
Hong Kong suspended vaccinations using Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shots in the city on Wednesday after they were informed by its distributor Fosun that one batch had defective bottle lids. The suspension was immediate while Chinese pharmaceutical firm Fosun Pharma and BioNTech, the German company which created the vaccine with American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, investigate the matter, according to a statement by Hong Kong Government.
According to the publication South China Morning Post, the government on Wednesday announced that bookings in all the 21 community vaccination centers which are providing BioNTech COVID-19 shots will be canceled. BioNTech and Fosun Pharma have not found any reason to believe the product is unsafe. However, vaccinations will be halted as a preventive and safety measure.
The defective lids were found on vaccines from batch number 210202. The vaccination from a separate batch of vaccines, 210104, will also be suspended as a precaution. Macau also said that residents would not receive the Pfizer vaccinations from the affected batch.
"All community centers in Hong Kong administering the Pfizer vaccine have temporarily suspended vaccinations and residents who already made appointments for Wednesday need not proceed to the centers," the government said. The suspension of the Pfizer jab means the only vaccine currently being offered to residents is China's Sinovac vaccine. These are the only two vaccines currently available in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, the city's Chief Executive Carrie Lam received the second dose of the Sinovac vaccine on Monday. So far 350,000 Hongkongers have received the COVID-19 jab. Hong Kong recorded 18 new cases on Monday and 12 on Tuesday. Apart from Sinovac and Pfizer, the city is also set to procure the AstraZeneca vaccine. Reportedly, plans to procure a fourth vaccine are in the pipeline.