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24 Mar 2021 | 11:03

Hong Kong temporarily halts Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rollout

(Sharecast News) - Distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been temporarily halted in Hong Kong and Macau over packaging concerns. Although no safety issues have been raised about the vaccine itself, defective packaging was found on vials with the lot number 210102, prompting the suspension by the local authorities, Agence-France Presse reported.

"For the sake of precaution, the current vaccination must be suspended during the period of investigation," the Hong Kong government said in a statement.

Hong Kong and Macau are understood to have been alerted to the issue by BioNTech and Fosun Pharma, the Chinese drugs firm that is distributing the vaccine in China. No further details regarding how the packaging is defective have been released.

Hong Kong began its vaccine rollout last month, offering both the Pfizer vaccine and one developed by Sinovac, the Beijing-based biopharmaceutical. Public take-up has been slower-than-expected, however. As of this week, around 150,200 people have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and another 252,800 have had the Sinovac jab, out of a 7.5m population.
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