Health authorities have stopped a private clinic from administering coronavirus vaccines, after reports emerged that the doctor there was recommending people take the BioNTech jab, rather than the one made by Chinese firm Sinovac.

Over the weekend, a photo went viral online showing a man holding a notice which read “Sinovac has a bad reputation, and BioNTech’s international reputation is good.”

“Dr Lau himself gets BioNTech and not Sinovac, as does professor Yuen Kwok-yung,” the notice said.

The state-owned Ta Kung Pao newspaper then ran stories about doctor Lau Tung-wah, accusing him of launching a smear campaign against the Sinovac jab.

The Department of Health said on Tuesday that Lau has violated an agreement under the inoculation programme, and it has terminated his clinic’s participation.

It has also taken back all the unused Sinovac vaccines from the clinic in To Kwa Wan. The doctor was not providing BioNTech jabs, which are only available at larger, public-sector facilities.

The department said it will keep reminding private doctors to provide vaccination services in accordance with guidelines.