First batch of COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Macao

8 February 2021

A first batch of 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinopharm has been delivered today to Macao.

The supply of vaccine to Macao was thanks to the Central Government’s strong support for the city. The vaccines were sent from Beijing, and arrived in Macao after being transported by road for more than 30 hours.

The Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, and Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), Ms Yan Zhichan, attended a ceremony to mark the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine produced by Sinopharm, which uses the ‘inactivated-virus’ technique, has proven to be safe and effective. After reviewing the vaccine’s clinical results, Macao’s Health Bureau approved Sinopharm’s inactivated vaccine for importation to Macao.

According to the phase-three clinical trial for the Sinopharm vaccine, its efficacy rate had been around 80 percent. There had been low incidence of systemic side effects in users: most of those displaying any side effects had displayed only minor symptoms, such as fever. There had not been any incidence of people showing symptoms such as serious neurological issues, nor had there been any cases of people dying as a result of taking the vaccine.

The Health Bureau noted the Sinopharm vaccine had been approved for commercial use by China’s National Medical Products Administration. It had been introduced and used in a number of countries.

Macao has sourced in total three types of COVID-19 vaccine, namely inactivated vaccine produced by Sinopharm; ‘mRNA-based’ vaccine by BioNTech and its partner in China, Fosun Pharma; and a form of ‘replication-defective adenovirus vector vaccine’ developed by AstraZeneca.

The three types of vaccine sourced by the Government had been granted – in a number of countries and areas – either authorisation for use in a public health emergency, or conditional authorisation for marketing purposes. Safety and efficacy were the key principles for Macao’s Health Bureau when considering importation of vaccines.

Macao’s remaining batches of chosen vaccine would be delivered to the city later in the year.

The local vaccination programme was ready for launch, and more details would be announced in a timely manner.

Vaccination in Macao would be on a voluntary basis. Macao inhabitants would be offered a choice from among the types of vaccine available.

The Government has closely adhered to its strategy of “preventing imported cases and a rebound of the epidemic”. In the first half of 2020, the Government had made continuous effort in relation to sourcing vaccine supply. As well as joining the “COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility” initiative, co-led by the World Health Organization and the Vaccine Alliance, Macao had also engaged closely with several manufacturers considered to have higher chances of successfully developing a vaccine than some other manufacturers.

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