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Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announces worldwide recall of its Covid-19 vaccine

09.05.2024
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https://www.bbc.com/news/health-68977026

A few months earlier, AstraZeneca admitted in court documents that its vaccine could in some cases cause a life-threatening side effect such as blood clots. The vaccine, developed at Oxford University, was one of the first to be released during the Covid-19 epidemic, which has affected millions of people around the world since late 2019. In the first year of its use alone, the vaccine saved more than six million lives.

The application for the voluntary withdrawal of authorization for the sale of the vaccine in the European Union was submitted by the company on March 5 and came into force on Tuesday. Similar applications will be made in the coming months in the UK and other countries that have certified the vaccine, called Vaxzevria. In the US, the AstraZeneca vaccine has never received approval for use.

AstraZeneca said the vaccine was being withdrawn from sale for commercial reasons. The vaccine is no longer produced or supplied because it has been replaced by updated vaccines that combat new variants, the manufacturer says.

Since its widespread use, the vaccine has come under scrutiny because of a rare side effect that causes blood clots and a reduced level of platelets in the blood. In court papers filed at the High Court in London in February, AstraZeneca admitted that its Covid vaccine “may, in very rare cases, cause TTS.”

TTS (“thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”) has been linked to at least 81 deaths in the UK, as well as hundreds of serious injuries. More than 50 alleged victims and relatives of the deceased have filed claims against AstraZeneca in the High Court. This rare syndrome occurred in approximately two to three people per 100 thousand vaccinated with the Vaxzevria vaccine.

AstraZeneca insists that the decision to withdraw the vaccine is not related to the trial or the recognition that it can cause TTS. The pharmaceutical company said in a statement that this was purely a coincidence.

 

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