AstraZeneca pulls COVID vaccine globally, cites surplus of new variants

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AstraZeneca announces global withdrawal of COVID-19 vaccine amid surplus of new variants.

LONDON, May 8: AstraZeneca, a major player in the fight against COVID-19, has announced the worldwide withdrawal of its COVID-19 vaccine, citing a “surplus of available updated vaccines” that target new variants of the virus.

This decision follows the voluntary withdrawal of the vaccine’s European Union marketing authorization by the pharmaceutical company in March. On May 7th, the European Medicines Agency confirmed that the vaccine is no longer authorized for use.

In a statement, AstraZeneca explained that the withdrawal was prompted by the availability of newer vaccines adapted to target COVID-19 variants, leading to a decreased demand for its vaccine, which is no longer in production or supply.

The company highlighted the significant impact of its vaccine, now known as Vaxzevria, stating that over 6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of its use, with over 3 billion doses supplied globally. Despite contributing to the global pandemic response, AstraZeneca expressed its commitment to working with regulators and partners to navigate this transition.

Several countries had already ceased supply of the vaccine, including Australia, where its use was phased out from June 2021 due to the availability of newer alternatives.

Originally authorized for use in individuals aged 18 and older, Vaxzevria consists of a modified adenovirus carrying the gene for making a protein from SARS-CoV-2. While overall safe and effective, the vaccine carried the risk of a rare but serious side effect known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

Prof. Catherine Bennett from Deakin University acknowledged the pivotal role of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the early stages of the pandemic but highlighted the evolving landscape of vaccine development to target emerging variants.

The World Health Organization’s latest COVID-19 vaccine advice underscores the importance of formulations targeting specific virus lineages, reflecting the ongoing effort to adapt to the evolving nature of the virus.

This news has been read 673 times!

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