COVID-19: Hong Kong suspends delivery for AstraZeneca jab

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Hong Kong has put delivery of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on hold amid fears of severe side effects and concerns over its efficacy against new variants of the coronavirus.

Read Also: Hong Kong to resume Covid-19 vaccinations with BioNTech shots

Hong Kong’s health chief, Sophia Chan, said on Friday the city has asked AstraZeneca not to deliver as planned later this year.

“We think it is not necessary for AstraZeneca to deliver the vaccines to the city within this year.

“Hong Kong wanted to avoid any waste as vaccines are in short supply globally,” she said.

It has signed deals and secure a good supply of vaccines for its 7.5 million residents, each with BioNTech/Pfizer and China’s Sinovac, both of which have begun deliveries.

A leading public health expert and government adviser, David Hui, called for Hong Kong to replace AstraZeneca with a new single dose vaccine made by Johnson and Johnson.

Europe’s medicines regulator said this week the AstraZeneca vaccine could cause very rare blood clots in some recipients, prompting a cascade of countries to pull the plug on giving it to people under a certain age.

Hong Kong was one of the first places to be hit by the coronavirus, but strict social distancing and universal mask-wearing have helped keep infections to just over 11,000 with 205 deaths.

 

Kamila/Punch

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