Hong Kong halts use of Pfizer vaccine, cites defective lids


BioNTech and Fosun Pharma have not found any reason to believe the product is unsafe

Hong Kong vaccine site

People queue up outside a vaccination center for BioNTech in Hong Kong Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Hong Kong suspended vaccinations using Pfizer shots – known as BioNTech shots in the city – on Wednesday after they were informed by its distributor Fosun that one batch had defective bottle lids. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong suspended use of the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday after its Chinese distributor informed the city that one batch had defective bottle lids.

The city’s government said the suspension was immediate while the matter is investigated by distributor Fosun Pharma and BioNTech, the German company which created the vaccine with American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer.

BioNTech and Fosun Pharma have not found any reason to believe the product is unsafe, according to the statement. However, vaccinations will be halted as a preventive and safety measure.

The defective lids were found on vaccines from batch number 210102. A separate batch of vaccines, 210104, will also be not be administered.

Macao also said Wednesday 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 offered to residents is China’s Sinovac vaccine. The two vaccines are the only ones that were offered to residents in Hong Kong.

Some residents who had appointments in the morning stood in line outside a community center administering the Pfizer vaccinations in the city’s Sai Ying Pun neighborhood. They eventually left the center when it became apparent that no vaccines would be administered.

As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, 403,000 people have received vaccines in the city, of which 150,200 had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, compared with 252,800 who had taken the Sinovac jab.

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