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Hong Kong Suspends BioNTech Vaccines Over Faulty Packaging

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Hong Kong authorities suspended Covid-19 vaccinations using BioNTech shots citing certain packaging issues. As per reports, Macao also has suspended these vaccines.

Germany's BioNTech and its Chinese partner in the development and distribution of the Comirnaty Covid-19 vaccine, Fosun Pharma, have initiated an investigation to identify the root cause of these packaging issues. Following the news, Fosun Pharma shares were losing around 6 percent in China.

In a statement, the Hong Kong city Government said the decision was taken following notification from Fosun Industrial Co., Limited about deviations in the vial seal of Comirnaty vaccine product, developed by BioNTech, of the batch 210102 and Expiry 06/2021.

The Department of Health suspended the vaccination with the concerned batch with immediate effect for the time being while investigation is ongoing. Further, as a precautionary measure to ensure vaccine safety, the Government has also put on hold another batch, 210104, of BioNTech vaccines procured by Hong Kong.

It said that both companies have found no reason to believe that there is a risk to product safety from the affected batch so far.

Hong Kong said, "As BioNTech vaccines procured by Hong Kong belong to the above batches, all Community Vaccination Centres (CVCs) stopped vaccinating BioNTech vaccine with immediate effect today until further notice. Those who have made appointments to receive BioNTech vaccination from today onwards need not go to CVC for vaccination."

The Health Department will conduct an urgent meeting with Fosun Industrial, the distributor of the German made BioNTech vaccine in Hong Kong and Macau, Wednesday to obtain further details of the incident and discuss on the follow up measures.

It was in March last year that BioNTech and Fosun Pharma entered into a deal to jointly develop and commercialize COVID-19 vaccine products in Greater China based on BioNTech's proprietary mRNA technology platform.

In January this year, their COVID-19 vaccine COMIRNATY, also known as BNT162b2, became the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive Authorization for Emergency Use in Hong Kong.

In the city, initial vaccinations began in February with doses from China-developed Sinovac, while inoculation with the BioNTech vaccines were started in March.

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