The Government today announced that it will donate 7.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the COVID-19 vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility as it has reached a tripartite agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the vaccine manufacturer.
Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan said at a media session that Hong Kong has procured and authorised a total of 15 million doses of the Sinovac and the BioNTech vaccines for emergency use, which are sufficient for all citizens to have a two-dose vaccination.
It is also expected that the two drug manufacturers can provide stable supplies of vaccines to Hong Kong according to the purchase agreement having regard to the city’s needs.
As such, the Government considered that there is no need for the AstraZeneca vaccine procured, totalling 7.5 million doses, to be delivered to Hong Kong.
According to the World Health Organization’s statement, the global picture of access to COVID-19 vaccines is still unacceptable.
Only 20% of people in low and lower-middle-income countries have received the first jab, while it is 80% in high and upper-middle-income countries.
The vaccines donated by Hong Kong to the COVAX Facility will be delivered to 92 eligible economies and shipped in batches before the second quarter of next year.
The Government noted that it will maintain its participation in the COVAX Facility for access to other types of vaccines which cannot be otherwise procured through bilateral purchase agreements.
However, it will only exercise the right to make purchases after carefully considering factors including the needs of Hong Kong and the scientific evidence on the vaccines.
As at October 11, more than 67% of Hong Kong people have been administered their first vaccine dose.
The Government will continue to press ahead with the vaccination of target groups, particularly senior citizens aged over 70.
It will also consider experts’ advice, make reference to international experiences as well as overseas practices, and continue to discuss with drug manufacturers on the purchase of vaccine booster doses or the next generation of vaccines which can better address variants of concern.