Hong Kong on Wednesday suspended the use of the fungi-biotech vaccine, after packaging flaws ranging from torn containers to loose caps were discovered in a batch of doses to vaccinate its seven million residents against Kovid. The campaign was a major setback for a city already struggling. -19
Health officials described the halt as a precaution, stating that no defective vials were given to patients and posed no health risk. But if the suspension continues, Chinese territory may not have enough shots to protect its population, while the spread of coronovirus continues. Hong Kong officials were counting on 7.5 million doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer of the United States and BioNotech of Germany to meet their needs.
The discovery has also led to a hunt for the origin of the faults, as well as questions about whether there may be an out there. Doses were manufactured at BioNTech’s facilities in Germany, while a Chinese company called Fosun Pharma was in charge for the transportation, storage and distribution of shots in Hong Kong.
“I am confused as to why this is being seen in Hong Kong for the first time and we haven’t heard of it anywhere else,” said Benjamin Cowling, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Hong Kong University.
“Was there anything special about this particular batch? Probably they were manufactured in the same way that other batches are manufactured in Germany. “
In a statement on Wednesday, BioNTech said that the batch in question was sent only to Hong Kong and Macau, another nearby Chinese region. The company said it was investigating the source of the problem.
“At this point, we have no reason to believe that there is any security risk to the population,” BioNotech said.
Fosun Pharma said BioNotech had detected problems with lids within a batch of vaccines shipped to Hong Kong and Macau, where authorities have also suspended administration of the vaccine. Fosun Pharma shares fell 4.8 percent in Hong Kong trading on Wednesday.
Already, Hong Kong’s inoculation drive has been plagued by public skepticism. Vaccination bookings fell after reports that several people had died after receiving other vaccines using Hong Kong, which has been made by Beijing-based Synovac. According to official figures, residents booked appointments for the BioNTech vaccine, doubling the number of bookings in the last six days as Synovac.
The Hong Kong government has not found any direct link between the shots and the deaths. But some people do not trust the government that Chinese authorities on the mainland tightened their control over the former British colony after pre-protest protests in 2019.
In January, A. 2,733 residents voting Showed that only 39 percent of Hong Kong residents were willing to take the Kovid-19 vaccine.
“There are some significant risks here, which will further undermine confidence in available vaccines,” said Karen Grempine, an associate professor at the School of Public Health at Hong Kong University, who received the biotech shot on March 12.
Professor Grupin said that many Hong Kong residents were waiting to see what the initial stages of the rollout would look like before deciding to take the vaccine.
The suspension sent a wave of uncertainty through the city’s clinics and medical offices, as vaccination reached a halt.
Lindsey Ing, 36, received the vaccine on Wednesday at 9:11 am. As she sat in the waiting area, she noticed that new people had stopped coming in. When she exited the center, staff were indicating that the vaccination service had been suspended. Questions were asked from the crowd of people arriving for vaccination.
Ms Ang said she was not particularly concerned about her own health but was more concerned that fewer people would be vaccinated in Hong Kong as a result of the incident.
“Speaking to the locals here, it is very clear that there are a lot of people who are saying, ‘Let’s wait and see,” said Ms. Ing, who is from Toronto, but an elderly family member in Hong Kong who is hesitant. Are to receive a vaccine.
Hong Kong authorities had reached Fossoon for answers after receiving reports about defective vials and packaging from fossil workers and pharmacists, Hong Kong Health Director Constance Chan said at a press conference on Wednesday. The defects were found before detection was made, he said, adding that workers carefully inspected the containers and vials.
In all, the government received eight reports of torn containers, 22 reports of leaks, 16 reports of loose caps and 11 reports of stains or marks on the outside of the bottles, Drs. Chan said.
The flawed doses were in the middle of a batch of 585,000 doses, with serial number 210102, the Hong Kong government said earlier on Wednesday, citing data from a Hong Kong subsidiary of Fosun. According to the government, 150,200 people have received shots from that batch so far.
Officials said they were placing another batch of 758,000 doses of the BioNTech vaccine with order number 50104.
“This vaccine is a precautionary measure to ensure safety,” the Hong Kong government said in a statement.
Dr. According to Chan, Fosun said it would work with BioNotech to inspect the manufacturing plant in Germany.
Compared to the United States and Britain, Hong Kong has been slow to begin its vaccination campaign. Only 5 percent of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents have been vaccinated. There have been more than 11,000 cases and 204 deaths in the city since the epidemic began, but it has returned a new outbreak that has resulted in hundreds of casualties. Goal for quarantine.
It is unclear how soon there may be concerns about the Pfizer-Bayonet Tech vaccine or how quickly Hong Kong can make up for the shortfall. The city has also ordered 7.5 million vaccine doses from the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, which are scheduled to arrive in the second quarter. The company has not yet applied for approval for its vaccine in Hong Kong.
Although the problem is resolved quickly, confusion has arisen.
Ruby Callaghan Brown, 32, and her husband arrive at an immunization center on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island at 7:45 am on Wednesday morning, 15 minutes before opening. A staff member shooed them away, saying that all vaccinations had been stopped and an announcement was forthcoming.
They then read online that the center had reopened, so they returned. They They were about to submit their paperwork when the vaccination was suspended once again.
They waited for 45 minutes before leaving. “I thought, ‘I’m just going to sit here until they change their minds,” he said.
Elsie Chen Contributed to research.