China has so far insisted on using only Chinese-made vaccines – which are of the inactivated virus type and not based on the Western mRNA technology – for its own population.
BioNTech and its partner for China – Fosun – were granted approval for their COVID-19 vaccine that is adapted for the BA.4 and the BA.5 subvariants of Omicron for people aged 12 and older in Hong Kong, the German company said on Dec 23.
The vaccine is the first and currently only variant-adapted vaccine available as a booster dose for individuals 12 years and older that has been granted approval in Hong Kong, BioNTech said at the time.
Fosun did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A shipment of BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines meant for German nationals in China arrived at the German embassy in Beijing last week as cases in China soared after policymakers dropped nearly all of previous epidemic control protocols.