Mark for the vaccination program on the clothing of a staff outside a community vaccination center administering the BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine imported by Fosun Pharma in Hong Kong, China, Wednesday, March 17, 2021.
Chan Long Hei | Bloomberg via Getty Images
Shares of China’s Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group tumbled after Hong Kong and Macao announced on Wednesday that they would discontinue BioNTech Covid vaccines.
Fosun Pharma, BioNTech’s partner in the development and distribution of the Comirnaty Covid-19 vaccine in Greater China, notified cities of a packaging defect in lot 210102 of the vaccine.
Hong Kong and Macao said they would discontinue vaccines made in Germany as a precaution.
The cities said BioNTech and Fosun Pharma are investigating the cause of the vial cap defect, adding that there is currently no reason to doubt the safety of the vaccine.
Macao said that all its messenger RNA or mRNA vaccines belong to the affected batch. Hong Kong said it would also temporarily suspend vaccines from batch 210104 until the investigation is completed.
Hong Kong-listed Fosun Pharma shares fell more than 5% in morning trading.
Hong Kong approved the BioNTech vaccine for emergency use in January, while Macao granted special import authorization for the vaccine in late February. Both territories received their first batch of shots in late February.
BioNTech’s mRNA-based vaccine is proven to be 95% effective in adults, based on data from its global phase 3 clinical trial. And real-world data has shown “very strong” results from the two-dose Covid vaccine. Pfizer-BioNTech, even after just one injection.
The news comes as countries around the world compete to vaccinate their populations in the face of the increase in Covid cases in most regions.
Globally, more than 124 million infections have been reported and the death toll from Covid has exceeded 2.7 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.