CHINA / SOCIETY
Experts call for emergency authorization of BioNTech vaccine in HK
Published: Jan 20, 2021 03:43 AM

An illustration shows vials of a COVID-19 vaccine and syringes with the logos of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German partner BioNTech. Photo: AFP



Chinese pharmaceutical company Fosun Pharma told the Global Times on Tuesday that they are closely communicating with Hong Kong's regional government over emergency use of the BioNTech vaccine in the city. 

Jin Dongyan, a biomedical professor at the University of Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Tuesday that a local committee of experts suggested that Hong Kong authorities should approve emergency use of the BioNTech vaccine. 

The committee reviewed the vaccine's efficacy, safety and quality and said that vaccination would bring more benefit than risk to Hong Kong, according to a document Fosun sent to the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Members of the committee said they would accept the vaccines, according to the document. 

On December 11, the Hong Kong regional government announced that it had reached an agreement with Fosun Pharma to purchase up to 7.5 million doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2) jointly developed by Fosun Pharma and Germany's BioNTech. Among them, the first batch of 1 million doses of vaccine is expected to be delivered as soon as the first quarter of 2021.

The government said they planned to kick off mass vaccination in February.

According to Fosun, the vaccines delivered to Hong Kong will be produced in BioNTech's factory in Europe. 

Hong Kong reported 9,721 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday with 164 deaths. 

Hong Kong's financial secretary Paul Chan Mo-po recently told the media that if vaccination is carried out properly, Hong Kong's economy will hopefully pick up in the second half of 2021. 

Fosun Pharma is the Chinese partner of German vaccine producer BioNTech's BNT162b2 vaccine. On November 24, the company launched Phase II clinical trials of the vaccine in China in Taizhou and Lianshui, East China's Jiangsu Province.

As of January 12, all participants in Taizhou and Lianshui had finished two injections and no serious side effects were discovered, the Global Times learned from the company. 

In the next step, the company said they will apply to the Chinese authorities for approval. 

Fosun explained that they would not conduct Phase III trials on the vaccine in China as the domestic epidemic has been controlled, so there is not the right environment for the trials. 

The BioNTech vaccine is reportedly the first COVID-19 vaccine that has obtained the World Health Organization's emergency use authorization. The authorization was announced on December 31. 

  

So far, the vaccine has been authorized for use by regulatory agencies in at least six countries - the UK, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and the US - according to media reports.
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