The Government today announced that it has submitted the expression of interest to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility as part of Hong Kong’s two-pronged strategy for vaccine procurement.
Led by the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization (WHO), the facility fosters research and development (R&D) as well as production of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure fair and equitable distribution of vaccines to places around the world and protect the most vulnerable populations.
The facility aims to have the vaccines delivered to the participating countries and economies by end-2021.
The Food & Health Bureau noted that according to the WHO, currently no vaccine for preventing COVID-19 has yet obtained regulatory approval for human application.
However, Hong Kong needs to take early action to reserve potential vaccines for its population in a timely manner as the bureau foresees that global competition will be very keen once an efficacious vaccine emerges.
It added that taking part in the COVAX facility can serve as a safety net for the city to a certain extent.
As the COVAX facility could only serve a proportion of Hong Kong’s population and the vaccines may only be delivered by end-2021, the Government will pursue additional supplies through advance purchase agreements with individual vaccine developers.
It will consider scientific evidence and clinical data and consult the Department of Health’s scientific committees before making such moves.
The department is trying to learn more about the R&D situation as well as preparation for vaccine production in the Mainland and other places to facilitate study and discussion by the scientific committees.