HONG KONG (Reuters) – The Hong Kong government said an initial investigation by BioNTech and Germany’s Fosun Industrial into its coronavirus vaccine showed no “obvious systemic factors” during packaging after use of the vaccine was discontinued. in the city and neighboring Macau this week.
Authorities halted use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech on Wednesday, citing faulty packaging, causing confusion at the city’s inoculation centers.
The suspension came as the Asian financial center faced sluggish uptake of vaccines due to declining confidence in China’s Sinovac vaccine and fears of adverse reactions.
In a statement released Saturday night, the city government said the results of the investigation did not rule out that the situation was “caused by environmental conditions during the long-distance transportation process.”
It was unrelated to the cold chain and logistics management of the vaccine and random testing of intact vials delivered to Hong Kong did not reveal any leakage problems, he said.
Both Fosun and BioNTech considered that the vaccines have no safety risks and people who have received them “need not worry,” the government said.
The remaining part of the investigation will focus on “determining the integrity of the intrinsic properties of the relevant lots of vaccine and that the lots are safe for use.”
The government said it was following up with Fosun and BioNTech to complete the investigation within a week and allow the resumption of the supply of vaccines to the public.
The city began vaccinating residents with doses of Sinovac in February and began offering the one developed by BioNTech in March.
The BioNTech vaccine is distributed in Hong Kong and Macao through a partnership with Fosun Pharma of China, while BioNTech partners with Pfizer in markets outside of China.
(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Daniel Wallis)