'Long journeys may have damaged vaccine packaging' - RTHK
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'Long journeys may have damaged vaccine packaging'

2021-03-27 HKT 20:07
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  • An initial report by BioNTech says there's no evidence to suggest any safety risk in its coronavirus vaccines. Image: Shutterstock
    An initial report by BioNTech says there's no evidence to suggest any safety risk in its coronavirus vaccines. Image: Shutterstock
Initial investigations by German drugmaker BioNTech says packaging defects found in some of its coronavirus vaccines could have been caused while they were being shipped to Hong Kong, and no systemic factors were identified.

According to a government statement on Saturday, officials had received a report of initial findings from manufacturer BioNTech and distributor Fosun, in which the companies said they believe the problems with the vials were caused by “environmental factors” during the long journey they made.

The companies said they had examined the packaging procedure from the manufacturing facilities in Germany, the shipping process, the transportation and storage of vaccines upon arrival in Hong Kong, and the steps taken at community centres where the vaccines were being administered.

The report said the packaging issue was not connected to the logistics management of the vaccines – which have to be transported and stored in ultra-cold facilities – and random checks did not find any leakages in the bottles.

According to the government statement, both BioNTech and Fosun believed there is no evidence to suggest that there is a risk to product safety and a detailed probe is expected to be completed in a week’s time.

Hong Kong and Macau have suspended the use of BioNTech vaccines on Wednesday after the companies reported the problems with the vials.