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AstraZeneca says it is withdrawing its COVID-19 vaccines globally: This is the reason behind it and no, it is not ‘rare side effects’

"As multiple, variant COVID-19 vaccines have since been developed there is a surplus of available updated vaccines," AstraZeneca said. The drugmaker stated that the vaccine was no longer in production and could no longer be used. The vaccine will be withdrawn similarly in all other countries that have been using it.

On Tuesday (7th May), AstraZeneca announced that it has begun the global withdrawal of its COVID-19 vaccine due to a “surplus of available updated vaccines” since the epidemic. The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker also said that it would revoke the vaccine Vaxzevria’s marketing authorisations in Europe.

“As multiple, variant COVID-19 vaccines have since been developed there is a surplus of available updated vaccines,” AstraZeneca said. The drugmaker stated that the vaccine was no longer in production and could no longer be used. The vaccine will be withdrawn similarly in all other countries that have been using it.

The application to withdraw the vaccine was submitted on 5th March of this year and came into effect on Tuesday.

Notably, AstraZeneca is facing a lawsuit over claims that its COVID-19 vaccine, developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford, caused death and serious injury, including TTS (Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome), which causes blood clots and low blood platelet counts. The manufacturer, however, has stated that the decision to withdraw Covishield is not connected to the lawsuit.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said: “…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,” it added.

The UK-based pharmaceutical company collaborated with the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker, to supply the Covishield vaccine to the Indian government.

In a recent statement in a UK court AstraZeneca admitted that the AZ vaccine can, in very rare cases, cause TTS. The causal mechanism is not known. “Our sympathy goes out to anyone who has lost loved ones or reported health problems. Patient safety is our highest priority, and regulatory authorities have clear and stringent standards to ensure the safe use of all medicines, including vaccines,” AstraZeneca said in a statement.

It is notable that the chances of rare side effects of possible TTS or blood clotting are just 3-4 cases in a million-strong population, and the effects are seen within a few weeks of vaccination, that too after the first dose itself.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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