(Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

Third batch of BioNTech vaccine arrives in Macau

The third batch of 29,250 doses of the covid-19 vaccine, produced by BioNTech in Germany and distributed by Fosun Pharma, arrived in Macau yesterday (Tuesday), the Health Bureau (SS) announced.

Upon arrival, via Hong Kong airport, the SSM examined and evaluated the “packaging in detail and will only begin use after approval,” according to a statement.

On April 5, Macau resumed the administration of BioNTech’s covid-19 vaccine, suspended on March 24, when authorities detected defects in the packaging.

“To ensure that there are no irregular situations, health professionals will proceed to check each bottle, as provided for in the procedures manual”, they indicated in the statement released this afternoon.

The second and third batches, totaling 48,750 doses, are valid until August, and vaccines that exceed their validity cannot be used and will be eliminated, they added.

“The more than 90,000 doses related to the first batch of vaccine” from BioNTech “remain in storage until the final investigation report is issued by the pharmaceutical company,” officials said.

The second and third batches, totaling 48,750 doses of that vaccine, are valid until August this year.

To avoid waste, the SSM negotiated with the manufacturer “the import in stages and in small quantities of the number of vaccines planned”, for a total of 400 thousand from BioNtech.

So far, about four thousand doses of the second batch of the vaccine have been used, without any problem being found.

The SSM reported that, to date, they have administered 71,196 doses of the existing vaccines in the territory, Sinopharm and BioNTech, with 46,732 people receiving the first dose and 24,464 the second.

The population of Macau, of just over 683,000 residents, can also choose the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not yet arrived in the territory.

In all, the Chinese special administrative region will receive about 1.5 million vaccines.

Considered one of the safest regions in the world in relation to the covid-19 pandemic, Macau has recorded only 49 cases since the new coronavirus arrived in the territory in late January 2020, with no deaths caused by the disease to date.