HK to hedge vaccine bet by picking two manufacturers - RTHK
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HK to hedge vaccine bet by picking two manufacturers

2020-09-18 HKT 16:54
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  • Health Secretary Sophia Chan says the government has earmarked HK$8.4 billion for the vaccine procurement. File photo: AFP
    Health Secretary Sophia Chan says the government has earmarked HK$8.4 billion for the vaccine procurement. File photo: AFP
The Hong Kong government plans to buy vaccines from more than one manufacturer to ensure that people here get the right protection against the coronavirus, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said on Friday.

"If one of the vaccines that we procure would not be able to be successfully manufactured for whatever reasons, because all those vaccines are in their third stage of clinical trial right now, so we have to review the data, look at the situation before we can procure these vaccines." said Chan.

"Procuring two times of our population would provide some safety net, so that if one of the vaccines is not working out, we would still have a vaccine enough for the people in Hong Kong," she said.

Chan said the government has earmarked HK$8.4 billion for the vaccine procurement. But she didn't reveal more details about the process.

Dozens of drug companies are on a race to produce a vaccine against Covid-19, which has now spread around the world and devastated the global economy.

There are currently nine vaccine candidates in late-stage human trials, including mainland companies like Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm.

Earlier this month pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University momentarily paused clinical trials after a volunteer developed an unexplained illness.

An Oxfam report released overnight on Thursday said five leading vaccine candidates currently in late-stage trials will be able to supply 5.9 billion doses, enough to inoculate about three billion people.

The report said some 51 percent of those jabs have been snapped up by wealthy governments, including Hong Kong and Macau.

Oxfam named the others as the United States, Britain, the European Union, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and Israel. (Additional reporting by AFP)