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Hong Kong calls time-out on #AstraZeneca

Hong Kong calls time-out on #AstraZeneca
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Friday, 09 April, 2021, 14:20

Hong Kong has asked embattled drug giant AstraZeneca to delay delivery of its Covid-19 vaccine and requested they offer a second-generation version of the drug better able to handle new coronavirus variants.

The decision emerged ahead of officials on Friday confirming 14 new Covid-19 cases, most of which were imported. Of the two local cases, one was detected in a quarantine centre and other’s source of infection had not been traced.

On the vaccine front, the city previously ordered 7.5 million doses from AstraZeneca, which was originally expected to ship the first batch to Hong Kong in the second half of this year.
A government source said the shipment would be postponed until the company could tweak its vaccine and improve its efficacy rate against the rapidly spreading South African variant.
“The main reason is because we already have enough supplies,” Chan said, referring to the 7.5 million shots each already ordered from China’s Sinovac and German firm BioNTech.

But Chan said the Health Authority was also concerned about the recent safety reports about the jabs.

“It is not necessary to deliver it to the city this year, to avoid any waste,” she said. “We have also begun looking at next-generation vaccines that can offer better protection against new virus variants.”