AstraZeneca to withdraw Covid vaccine worldwide amid safety issues: Report

Amid the safety concerns over AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine Covishield and Vaxzevria, the pharmaceutical giant on Tuesday said it has initiated to withdraw its Vaxzevria vaccine globally, The Telegraph reported. The company, however, said the move is due to a “surplus of available updated vaccines” since the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that this has led to the “decline in demand” for the vaccine.

Amid safety concerns, AstraZeneca withdraws Covid vaccine worldwide: Report(REUTERS/File photo )

The Telegraph report added that AstraZeneca’s application to withdraw the Vaxzervria vaccine was made on March 5 and came into effect on May 7.

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Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the company also withdrew marketing authorisation for the vaccine within Europe, reported Reuters.

AstraZeneca admits safety issues

AstraZeneca’s latest move comes days after the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker admitted in a legal document submitted that its Covid vaccines, in very rare cases, can cause Thrombosis Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) – a rare syndrome characterized by blood clots (thrombosis) and low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia).

However, it also noted that the syndrome can be detected, even if there is no vaccination, adding that expert testimony will be required to determine causation in every case.

Despite this, the company maintained that extensive clinical trial data and real-world evidence consistently support the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. It also reaffirmed that the company’s first priority is “patient safety”.

“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,” a spokesperson for AstraZeneca said in a statement last week.

Lawsuits against AstraZeneca

The pharmaceutical company has been fighting a class action lawsuit against its Covid-19 vaccines, allegedly leading to several deaths across the world. It first began after a man, identified as Jamie Scott, filed a complaint against AstraZeneca, saying that he developed a “blood clot and bleed on his brain, which left him with a severe brain impairment” after injecting the vaccine.

Additionally, over 50 cases have been filed in the court against AstraZeneca over its vaccine effects.

The Telegraph earlier reported that AstraZeneca has admitted in court papers that its Covid vaccine, Covishield, can cause rare side effect. Covishield was developed by AstraZeneca and was produced by the Serum Institute of India.

The Supreme Court will soon hear a petition on the rare side effects associated with Covishield. While a hearing date has not yet been set, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has acknowledged the petition demanding an expert panel to investigate the vaccine’s side effects.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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