(Reuters) – Hong Kong expects the preliminary findings of an investigation into packaging defects of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech SE as soon as next week, the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday, citing Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip (https://bit.ly/3w3c1ZN).
Nip said he had personally requested senior management of China’s Fosun Pharma to ship a new batch of the vaccines to Hong Kong if there were safety concerns with the existing ones, the SCMP reported.
The BioNTech vaccine is distributed in Hong Kong and Macau through a partnership with Fosun Pharma. BioNTech partners with Pfizer Inc in markets outside greater China.
BioNTech said on March 24 it had decided to pause further vaccination with the batch until the investigation is complete as a precautionary measure and that no other batches shipped to other regions are affected by this investigation.
People are expected to get their booster dose before mid-April, Nip said on a radio show, according to the SCMP report. “We will give priority to those who need the second dose when we assign the new time slots and venues once the vaccinations with BioNTech can resume,” the report added.
Hong Kong and Macau halted the use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech on Wednesday, citing defective packaging, in a move that triggered scenes of confusion in inoculation centres across the city.
(Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)