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Hong Kong approves BioNTech vaccine

Region’s leader Lam admits ‘hiccups’ in procuring vaccines amid ‘desperate need’

Riyaz Ul Khaliq   | 26.01.2021
Hong Kong approves BioNTech vaccine

ANKARA

The regional government in Hong Kong has approved emergency use of the BioNTech vaccine against the deadly coronavirus.

The city-state's Health Department said the BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency use in a statement released on Monday night.

Shanghai-based Fosun Pharma has acquired the German BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and Hong Kong’s health advisory panel had last week approved its use.

The statement said the BioNTech vaccine's benefits “outweigh the risks”, referring to the criteria of “safety, efficacy and quality.”

However, it added that the pharmaceutical companies have to continuously submit the latest clinical data, safety update reports, and the quality certification of each batch of jabs manufactured.

The first batch of one million doses of the vaccine is “being tested for its safety and quality and will likely be shipped from Germany to Hong Kong late next month.”

In recent weeks, Hong Kong witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases triggering mass clinical testing. The authorities also imposed a limited lockdown in the region’s most populated Yau Tsim Mong district.

Speaking to reporters ahead of her weekly Executive Council meeting, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said: “We have been very concerned about the supply of vaccines for Hongkongers because this is really the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Hong Kong has made advance purchase agreements to procure doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, Beijing-based Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Oxford University vaccine.

“They all have a little bit of a hiccup. For the one that has been authorized by the secretary for food and health … the supply will only come by the end of February from Germany,” Lam said about the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.

She added Hong Kong has “a desperate need for vaccination among high-risk groups and cross-border workers.”

The region has reported over 10,000 cases of the virus, including 170 deaths since the outbreak.

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