'Scrap AstraZeneca order over safety concerns' - RTHK
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'Scrap AstraZeneca order over safety concerns'

2021-04-07 HKT 10:36
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  • 'Scrap AstraZeneca order over safety concerns'
A government adviser on the pandemic, David Hui, has on Wednesday urged health officials to scrap the SAR's order for 7.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, amid growing concerns over the jab's safety in Europe.

The European Medicines Agency is currently investigating links between the vaccine and a rare blood clot, though the World Health Organisation had said it's unlikely to change its guidance that the benefits of the shot outweigh any risks.

Several European countries have suspended vaccinations in younger people following 44 reports of a condition known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, out of 9.2 million people who have been vaccinated.

Hui, a Chinese University expert, said Hong Kong has a sufficient supply of Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines for now, adding that authorities should look to order second generation vaccines, instead of buying the AstraZeneca jabs.

He also pointed to the latest findings which suggest that the vaccine is far less effective against the South African variant of the virus.

"For the AstraZeneca vaccine, the vaccine's effectiveness against the South African strain is down to 10 percent, and this is undesirable," Hui said.

"We have enough vaccines for the whole Hong Kong population at the moment. So I think at this stage we don't have any urgent need to purchase a third vaccine… I think we should actually keep the resources and watch out for any new developments."

Speaking on an RTHK show, University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung also urged authorities to revisit their decision to purchase the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying recent incidents could undermine the public’s confidence in the jabs.

As of Tuesday evening, the SAR has administered over 615,000 vaccine doses to more than 500,000 residents.