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Hong Kong discontinues Pfizer vaccine, notes inadequate caps

Hong Kong (AP) – Hong Kong stopped using the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday after its Chinese distributor informed the city that a batch contained a defective bottle cap.

The city government said the suspension was imminent while investigating distributor Fosun Pharma և BioNTech, the German company that developed the vaccine with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The statement said that BioNTech և Fosun Pharma did not find any grounds to believe that the product was dangerous. However, vaccinations will be discontinued as a precautionary measure.

Defective caps were found on vaccines from batch number 210102. A separate batch of vaccines, 210104, will also not be used.

On Wednesday, Macau said residents would not receive the Pfizer vaccine from the affected population.

BioNTech և Fosun Pharma cannot be reached for comment immediately.

The government has said that all community centers in Hong Kong that administer the Pfizer vaccine have temporarily stopped vaccinating, and residents who have already been vaccinated on Wednesday should not apply to the centers.

Stopping the Pfizer vaccine means that the only vaccine currently offered to residents is the Chinese Sinovac vaccine. Both vaccines are the only ones offered to Hong Kong residents.

German immigrant Janis Partasfas was among a group of people who received Pfizer shots before being stopped.

“I was vaccinated at 8.30am this morning, before the news of the vaccine was announced, I heard the news when I was returning home,” said Partsafas, 32, who works in the sporting goods industry.

“I’m not very concerned about safety, but I’m concerned that this could mean that more people will be denied the opportunity to be vaccinated in Hong Kong, which will affect the herd ‘s immunity and the elimination of social exclusion measures,” he said.

Some residents who had appointments on Wednesday morning stood at around 10:30 a.m. near the community center that administered the Pfizer vaccine in Sai Yin Poon district of the city. They eventually left the center when it turned out that no vaccines would be given.

As of 8pm on Tuesday, 403,000 people in the city had been vaccinated, of which 150,200 had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, compared with 252,800 who had received Sinovac.

This story has been corrected to indicate that the defective batch is 210102.

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