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May 20, 2024
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COVID-19: AstraZeneca to withdraw its vaccine worldwide

The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is being withdrawn worldwide due to concerns over a rare and dangerous side effect.

This development came months after the pharmaceutical giant admitted for the first time in court documents that the vaccine can cause a rare and dangerous side effect.

The vaccine can no longer be used in the European Union after the company voluntarily withdrew its “marketing authorisation”. The application for withdrawal was submitted on March 5 and took effect on Tuesday.

Similar applications will be made in the UK and other countries that had previously approved the vaccine, also known as Vaxzevria. The decision to withdraw it brings to an end the use of the jab, which was heralded by Boris Johnson as a “triumph for British science” and credited with saving more than six million lives.

AstraZeneca disclosed that the vaccine was being removed from markets for commercial reasons. The manufacturer added that the vaccine was no longer being manufactured or supplied, saying it has been superseded by updated vaccines that tackle new variants.

The statement read, “We are incredibly proud of the role Vaxzevria played in ending the global pandemic. According to independent estimates, over 6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of use alone and over three billion doses were supplied globally.

“Our efforts have been recognised by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic.

“As multiple, variant Covid-19 vaccines have since been developed, there is a surplus of available updated vaccines. This has led to a decline in demand for Vaxzevria, which is no longer being manufactured or supplied. AstraZeneca has therefore taken the decision to initiate withdrawal of the marketing authorisations for Vaxzevria within Europe.

“We will now work with regulators and our partners to align on a clear path forward to conclude this chapter and significant contribution to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In recent months, the Vaxzevria vaccine faced significant scrutiny due to an extremely rare side effect involving blood clots and low blood platelet counts.

AstraZeneca acknowledged in court documents filed with the High Court in February that the vaccine can in very uncommon instances, lead to Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome.

TTS – which stands for Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome has been associated with at least 81 fatalities in the UK, along with numerous severe injuries. AstraZeneca is currently facing a lawsuit from over 50 individuals who claim to have suffered due to TTS, as well as from grieving family members in a High Court case.

However, AstraZeneca maintained that their decision to withdraw the vaccine is unrelated to the ongoing court proceedings or their acknowledgement of the vaccine’s potential association with TTS. They said the timing of this withdrawal is purely coincidental.

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