Pfizer is pulling its vaccines sales business out of China with immediate effect because the Chinese government has refused to renew an import license for pneumococcal disease jab Prevenar.

According to media reports, the drug giant has not disclosed why the license has not been renewed, but did say the move would cause a shortage of the vaccine in the country.

In statement, Pfizer said closure of its vaccines operation would impact most of the 200 employees in the unit.

Pfizer spokeswoman Trupti Wagh told Reuters that Pfizer will work with Chinese regulators to bring its next-generation form of the vaccine, Prevenar 13, into the country, but could not give a timeframe on this.