Hong Kong and Macau suspended the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines on March 24 after being notified that one batch of vials had a packaging problem.
According to statements from the city governments of Hong Kong and Macau, their Chinese distributor Fosun Pharma informed them that vials from batch number 210102 were found to have defective lids.
Both Chinese territories did not provide any detail on how the packaging was defective and on how long the suspensions would last.
Acknowledging that BioNTech and Fosun Pharma “have no reason to believe that there is a risk to product safety,” both cities suspended the vaccinations “for the sake of precaution” while the investigation is ongoing.
Authorities also said that vials from a second batch — 210104 — will also be put on hold and will not be administered as “a precautionary measure to continuously ensure vaccine safety” until Fosun Pharma and BioNTech have completed the investigation.
The Hong Kong government said that all community centers administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been temporarily suspended and that those who have made appointments to receive the vaccine do not need to go to the centers.
Some residents in Hong Kong also said on social media that some vaccination centers were closed and that their appointments had been canceled.
With the suspension of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, China’s Sinovac becomes the only vaccine currently being offered to Hong Kong and Macau residents.
In Hong Kong, about 403,000 people have been vaccinated, according to data from its government.
Data from the Hong Kong government also revealed that it has recorded a total of 11,410 cases and 204 deaths.
Meanwhile, the health bureau in Macau has recorded 48 cases and zero deaths.
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