Science

Hong Kong suspends AstraZeneca vaccine order

Hong Kong confirmed on Friday that it has asked AstraZeneca to suspend its order for Covid-19 vaccines over fears of side effects and concerns about its effectiveness against new variants of the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, the European regulator acknowledged that blood clots should be listed as a “very rare” side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine, leading many countries to suspend vaccination with this serum to people who have not reached a certain age.

The British government made an effort on Thursday to reassure the population about the safety of vaccines, believing that the risk of falling seriously ill from Covid-19 was much greater.

Hong Kong Health Minister Sophia Chan said on Friday she asked AstraZeneca not to deliver the vaccine doses due to arrive this year.

“We believe there is no need for AstraZeneca to deliver the vaccines to the city later this year,” she said, adding that Hong Kong wanted “to avoid any waste due to their scarcity. across the planet “.

The wealthy financial center has secured vaccine delivery for its 7.5 million people.

It signed contracts for 7.5 million doses each with the American-German alliance Pfizer / BioNTech BioNTech / Pfizer and the Chinese laboratory Sinovac, which have both started delivering them.

Ms. Chan, however, clarified that Hong Kong also wants to study the possibility of obtaining other vaccines with better efficacy on variants of the coronavirus.

Earlier this week, David Hui, a public health expert and government adviser, called on Hong Kong to replace AstraZeneca with the single-dose vaccine made by Johnson and Johnson.

Very densely populated, Hong Kong, which has nearly 7.5 million inhabitants, displays very little contamination thanks in particular to severe restrictions and a highly respected mask.

Since the start of the pandemic, the city has recorded more than 11,000 cases and 205 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19.

Although Hong Kong has a regular and sufficient supply of vaccines, residents seem reluctant to be vaccinated, especially in a context of mistrust of the pro-Beijing government.

So far, only some 529,000 people have received a first dose.

Public confidence has also been damaged by certain executive decisions, which notably urgently approved the Sinovac vaccine despite poor results in terms of efficacy.

In addition, he suspended his vaccination campaign for ten days with the Pfizer / BioNTech serum because the vials had defective packaging.

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