A man leaves after receiving a dose of the Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine at a community vaccination center at the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre in Hong Kong, March 19, 2022. (KIN CHEUNG / AP)
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government’s advisers on COVID-19 vaccines have recommended authorizing the application of the Comirnaty bivalent vaccine in the city.
In accordance with the Prevention and Control of Disease (Use of Vaccines) Regulation, Fosun Pharma submitted to the Secretary for Health an application for the authorization of Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.4-5 bivalent vaccine for emergency use. It also submitted the overseas authorization obtained, and information related to the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccine, the government said in a statement.
After examining the information and reports submitted by Fosun Pharma on Monday, the Advisory Panel on COVID-19 Vaccines Monday considered that under the current epidemic situation, the benefits of authorizing the use of the Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.4-5 bivalent vaccine as a booster for protecting against COVID-19 outweigh the risks.
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The secretary for health will consider the relevant recommendation and come to a decision on the authorisation of the vaccine for emergency use as soon as possible.
Spokesman, HKSAR Govt
To ensure that the relevant vaccine continues to fulfil the requirements of safety, efficacy and quality, the advisory panel suggested adding conditions to require the applicant to continue providing the latest clinical data, safety update reports, and quality certification documents by the drug manufacturer for each batch of vaccines.
The advisory panel will submit the advice to the secretary for health for consideration, the government statement, issued late on Monday, added.
Welcoming submission of the recommendation by the advisory panel, a government spokesman said the secretary for health would consider the relevant recommendation and come to a decision on authorizing the vaccine for emergency use as soon as possible.
“We strongly appeal to members of the public who have not been vaccinated, especially senior citizens, chronic patients and other immunocompromised persons who face a much higher fatality risk after COVID-19 infection, to get vaccinated with no delay for the sake of their health,” the spokesman said, stressing that vaccination is highly effective in preventing severe cases or deaths from COVID-19.
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Earlier, the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases, joined by the Chief Executive's expert advisory panel had recommended that the Comirnaty Omicron BA.4-5 bivalent vaccine can be used as an alternative to the fourth dose of the current ancestral strain vaccines for eligible people aged 12 years or above following the current vaccination schedule.
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