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AstraZeneca withdraws Covid vaccines globally, cites decline in demand

  • AstraZeneca announces the global withdrawal of its Covid-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria
  • Cites commercial reasons and a decline in demand behind the decision
  • Withdrawal comes amidst legal battles over alleged severe side effects of the vaccine

08 May 2024
AstraZeneca withdraws Covid vaccines globally, cites decline in demand

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced the global withdrawal of its Covid-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria, citing a surplus of newer vaccine options as the primary reason. The company has voluntarily withdrawn the "marketing authorization" for the vaccine within the European Union, and similar applications are expected to be made in other countries where the vaccine was approved.

The decision comes amidst ongoing legal battles faced by AstraZeneca over allegations that its vaccine, developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford, led to fatalities and severe injuries, including Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS). However, the company has maintained that the withdrawal is not linked to the court case or its admission of TTS side effects, but rather cited commercial reasons and a decline in demand.

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

The vaccine, known as Covishield in India and other low- and middle-income countries, was developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University in response to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. It played a crucial role in the global vaccination effort, with independent estimates suggesting that over 6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of its use alone.

Sources within the Health Ministry told that the Indian government has not purchased any Covid-19 vaccines in the last two years, and there is no indication of purchasing any more vaccines in the near future.

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