A local official has warned that Hong Kong may receive millions of doses of vaccines against Covid-19 in the trash because the expiration date is approaching and few people have registered to receive the medicines, in a sign of people’s distrust.
The former British colony is one of the few places in the world that has managed to secure enough doses to vaccinate its 7.5 million people, but mistrust of the government, combined with misinformation on social networks and reduced infections, has caused the vaccination level to drop.
On Tuesday, a member of the government’s Vaccine Committee warned that Hong Kong citizens “only have a window of three months” before the first batch of vaccines from Pfizer-Bio-n Tech expires.
“These vaccines have an expiration date,” warned Thomas Tsang, former director of the Health Protection Center.
“It cannot be used after the expiration date, and BioNTech’s community vaccination centers will stop in September as planned,” he added.
Only 19% of the city population received a dose of either vaccine, while 14% received both doses.
Even among health professionals, there are doubts about vaccines. This month, the City Hospital Authority reported that only a third of its staff had been immunized.
Hong Kong received 3.26 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, but only 1.23 million have been applied.
The rest should be stored at extremely low temperatures and have a shelf life of six months.
The warning from the Hong Kong authorities comes at a time when countries with fewer resources are looking for vaccines to combat waves of Covid-19 infection.
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