AstraZeneca to withdraw COVID-19 vaccine globally

Staff WritersReuters
Billions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were created and made available in 183 countries. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconBillions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were created and made available in 183 countries. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

AstraZeneca says it has initiated the worldwide withdrawal of its COVID-19 vaccine due to a "surplus of available updated vaccines" since the pandemic.

The company also said it would proceed to withdraw the vaccine Vaxzevria's marketing authorisations within Europe.

"As multiple, variant COVID-19 vaccines have since been developed there is a surplus of available updated vaccines," the company said, adding that this had led to a decline in demand for Vaxzevria, which is no longer being manufactured or supplied.

According to media reports, the Anglo-Swedish drug maker has previously admitted in court documents that the vaccine causes side effects such as blood clots and low blood platelet counts.

The firm's application to withdraw the vaccine was made on March 5 and came into effect on May 7, according to the Telegraph, which first reported the development.

The Serum Institute of India (SII), which produced AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine under the brand name Covishield, stopped manufacturing and supply of the doses since December 2021, an SII spokesperson said.

London-listed AstraZeneca began moving into respiratory syncytial virus vaccines and obesity drugs through several deals last year after a slowdown in growth as COVID-19 medicine sales declined.

In December 2020, the vaccine became the second COVID-19 jab to be approved for use in the United Kingdom and former prime minister Boris Johnson hailed it as a "triumph for British science".

Vaccine makers agreed that it could be manufactured on a "not-for-profit basis for the duration of the pandemic across the world, and in perpetuity to low- and middle-income countries".

Billions of doses were created and made available across 183 countries.

with PA

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