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8 May, 2024 10:00

AstraZeneca withdraws Covid vaccine worldwide

The company found itself in hot water following allegations that the jab can cause blood clots in rare cases
AstraZeneca withdraws Covid vaccine worldwide

AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company has announced the withdrawal of its Covid-19 vaccine from global markets, claiming the drug has been sidelined by alternatives.

The development comes after the drug manufacturer recently admitted that the vaccine can cause potentially fatal blood clots in rare cases.

In a statement on Wednesday, cited by multiple media outlets, a spokesperson for AstraZeneca said multiple variants of the vaccine had been developed since the start of the pandemic, leading to a decline in demand for Vaxzevria, which is no longer being manufactured or developed. A spokesman also cited independent estimates claiming that “over 6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of use alone and over 3 billion doses were supplied globally.”

The AstraZeneca vaccine was rolled out in early 2021, shortly after the Covid-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. AstraZeneca voluntarily withdrew its market authorization for the vaccine in the EU last March, with the European Medicines Agency confirm.

Shortly after the rollout, AstraZeneca found itself at the center of controversy after numerous Western countries suspended the use of its vaccine over fears that it may have caused some patients to develop blood clots. However, EU health officials at the time insisted that the benefits of the inoculation still outweighed the risks.

In recent months, the drugmaker has been fighting an uphill legal battle, with a class-action lawsuit claiming that the AstraZeneca vaccine is “defective” and less safe than expected. The company has denied the allegation.

Plaintiffs have insisted that the vaccine has caused Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS), a rare condition in which a person has blood clots, which can reduce blood flow, combined with a low platelet count, which can cause difficulties in stopping the bleeding. TTS caused by the vaccine is believed to be linked to several dozen deaths in the UK alone, with hundreds of others suffering serious injuries.

While the company initially denied a link between the condition and the use of the product, it admitted in court documents submitted to the UK High Court last February that “the AZ vaccine can, in very rare cases, cause TTS,” adding that “the causal mechanism is not known.” It also claimed that the vaccine has “an acceptable safety profile.”