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Govt rules out EU exports curbs as reason for BioNTech delay







This photo taken on Sept 18, 2020 shows the headquarters of biopharmaceutical company BioNTech in Mainz, western Germany. (YANN SCHREIBER / AFP)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government ruled out Thursday that a delay in the scheduled shipment of BioNTech vaccines from Germany had anything to do with export restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines by the European Union.

The first million doses of BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, co-developed by Fosun Pharma, was expected to arrive in Hong Kong from a production factory in Germany on Thursday morning

The first million doses of BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, co-developed by Fosun Pharma, was expected to arrive in Hong Kong from a production factory in Germany on Thursday morning.

In a statement issued Wednesday night, the government cited Fosun as saying that “the procedures for export of the vaccine have yet to be completed”.

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“It does not involve any issues related to the export restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines by the European Union. The first batch of one million doses of the Comirnaty vaccine will be delivered to Hong Kong from Germany via two flights as soon as possible,” the statement reads.

A retired senior citizen surnamed Yuen, who prefers the BioNTech vaccine, said he was a bit disappointed at the delay and that it would entail a longer waiting period. “Maybe in mid-March at the soonest,” he said.

The government said it will start inoculation as soon as possible after taking delivery of the vaccines from Germany.

READ MORE: Booking for virus shots after March 11 to start in coming days

Hong Kong has purchased 7.5 million doses of the BioNTech vaccine.

Online registration for vaccination started on Tuesday and by 4 pm, slots between Feb 26 and March 11 at five community centers and 18 general out-patient clinics had been fully booked by around 70,000 residents. 

Also, more than 1,000 private doctors have signed up to help with vaccinating the public, Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said Wedenesday.

Reference