A government medical advisor has said there is no need for Hong Kong to proceed with the purchase of 7.5 million doses of the British-developed AstraZeneca vaccine after several European countries suspended administering the jab last month over safety concerns.
“For the AstraZeneca vaccine, the vaccine effectiveness for the South African strain is down to 10 percent. This is undesirable. We have enough vaccines for the whole Hong Kong population at the moment,” Dr David Hui told an RTHK programme on Wednesday.
“At this stage, we don’t have any urgent need to purchase a third vaccine. I think we should actually keep the resources, watch out for any new development.”
A mutation of the coronavirus was detected in South Africa last October. Other mutations have also been detected in the UK and Brazil.
The World Health Organisation has urged countries not to suspend its vaccination schemes, whilst the European Union’s medicine regulator has said unusual blood clots ought be listed as very rare side effects.
The city has already procured 7.5 million doses of both the China-developed Sinovac and Germany’s BioNTech vaccine, enough to inoculate its population of 7.5 million.
The government had secured a procurement contract for 7.5 million doses of at the end of last year as part of its city-wide voluntary vaccination scheme. The vaccine has yet to be approved for emergency use in Hong Kong.
Around 113 000 people have been fully vaccinated and have received their second vaccine dose in Hong Kong as of Thursday evening, 89,300 of whom received doses of Sinovac.
Hong Kong reported eight new infections on Wednesday, with six imported cases and two local infections with untraceable origins.