Hong Kong approves Sinovac Covid-19 jab for emergency use, prepares to launch mass vaccination

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Hong Kong has formally approved China’s Sinovac vaccine for emergency use, the region’s health authorities have said. The mass vaccination campaign against coronavirus is expected to kick off next week.

The official approval of the vaccine was announced by Hong Kong’s health secretary, Sophia Chan, on Thursday.

The jab has met the “safety, efficacy and quality requirements specified in Hong Kong emergency situations,” she said, and the benefits of the vaccine rollout are expected to outweigh the risks. The Sinovac vaccine has not yet fully completed its testing cycle, but the regional government moved to exempt it from publishing results of its third phase clinical trials in medical journals, citing the “urgency” for vaccination.

Hong Kong is expected to receive millions of jabs from the mainland over the next few days, Patrick Nip, the region’s secretary for the Civil Service, said as he spoke alongside Chan.

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Earlier, Hong Kong approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which, like Sinovac, was exempted from completing its trials. The region has not received the ordered jabs yet, but it’s expected to get the first batch from Pfizer by the end of February, Nip revealed.

The mass vaccination drive is expected to kick off across the region next Friday. People aged over 60, healthcare workers, and those involved in cross-border logistics will be given priority for receiving a Covid-19 shot.

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