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HKSAR Government donates 7.5 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to COVAX Facility
     The Government announced today (October 12) that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has reached a tripartite agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the drug manufacturer AstraZeneca on the donation of 7.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to the COVAX Facility (COVAX).

     Currently, Hong Kong has procured and authorised a total of 15 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine and the Comirnaty vaccine for emergency use. Under a two-dose regime, the procured quantity is sufficient for vaccination by the entire Hong Kong population. It is also expected that Sinovac and the German drug manufacturer BioNTech/Fosun Pharma can continue to provide stable supplies of vaccines to Hong Kong according to the purchase agreement having regard to Hong Kong's needs. In view of this, there is no need for the 7.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine procured to be delivered to Hong Kong.

     The World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated repeatedly that no less than a global effort is required to end a global pandemic and "no one is safe until everyone is safe". According to a statement made by the WHO, the global picture of access to COVID-19 vaccines is still unacceptable. Only 20 per cent of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries have received a first dose of vaccine compared to 80 per cent in high- and upper-middle-income countries. The vaccines donated by the HKSAR Government to COVAX will be donated to COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) Eligible Economies (Note). The 7.5 million doses will be delivered before the second quarter of 2022 by shipments in batches.

     The Government spokesman said, "While donating the AstraZeneca vaccine to COVAX, the HKSAR Government will maintain our participation in COVAX for access to other types of vaccines which cannot be otherwise procured through bilateral purchase agreements. However, we will only exercise our right to make the purchase after carefully considering the needs of Hong Kong, the scientific evidence on the vaccines, etc.

     "As at October 11, over 67 per cent of the public have received the first dose vaccine. We will continue to press ahead with the vaccination of target groups, particularly the elderly who are over 70 years of age to protect them from serious illness if they were infected and at the same time to build a protective shield in Hong Kong. Furthermore, we will consider experts' advice and make reference to international experiences and overseas practices, and continue our discussion with drug manufacturers on the purchase of vaccine booster doses or next generation vaccines which can better address variants of concern."

Note: Comprises 80 low income and lower middle-income economies eligible for COVAX AMC support based on 2018 and 2019 World Bank Gross National Income data, and the 12 other economies eligible for the support from the International Development Association under the World Bank.
Ends/Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Issued at HKT 16:48
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