Hong Kong, Macau halt Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine batch after defective packaging

HONG KONG (AFP, BLOOMBERG) – Hong Kong and Macau on Wednesday (March 24) said they are suspending the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine after being informed of a packaging problem with a batch of vials.

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

Both Chinese cities said their decision came after they were contacted about the issue by Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, the Chinese company which has the rights to develop and market the shots across mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Vials with the lot number 210102 were found to have defective packaging, authorities said.

The statements from Hong Kong and Macau did not give any details on how the packaging was defective but both said they did not believe there were any safety risks.

Authorities said they decided to act out of an abundance of caution until their investigation is concluded.

Some Hong Kongers took to social media to say their appointments that day had been cancelled and that some vaccination centres were closed.

One centre visited by an Agence France-Presse reporter had been taped off.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Fosun Pharma have initiated an investigation into the issue and say there is no reason to believe product safety is at risk, according to a Macau government statement.

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