8 May 2024

Coronavirus Covishield Vaccine Side Effects: AstraZeneca's Global Withdrawal of Covid-19 Vaccine Sparks Controversy; What the Company Said?

In a significant move, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced the global withdrawal of its Covid-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria. This decision follows revelations in court documents acknowledging a rare and hazardous side effect associated with the vaccine, known as Thrombosis Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS). Despite assertions from AstraZeneca that the withdrawal is motivated by commercial considerations rather than safety concerns, the move has raised eyebrows and prompted scrutiny.

Covishield was made from the same formula in India  

The UK-based pharma company also collaborated with the Serum Institute of India (SII), the largest vaccine producer globally, to provide the vaccine (Covishield) to the Indian government. Covishield vaccine, which was widely administered to the people in India, was made from the same formula.

Withdrawal process commenced on March 5

According to reports, the company clarified that Vaxzevria is no longer in production or circulation. This withdrawal process commenced with an application submitted on March 5, which has now taken effect, rendering the vaccine unauthorized for use within the European Union. Similar applications for withdrawal are expected in other jurisdictions, including the UK, where the vaccine had previously received approval.

Legal challenges against the pharmaceutical giant

The spotlight on Vaxzevria intensified due to its association with rare instances of blood clots and low blood platelet counts. AstraZeneca's acknowledgment of this risk in court documents, filed in February, underscored the seriousness of the issue. The syndrome has been implicated in numerous fatalities and severe injuries, leading to ongoing legal challenges against the pharmaceutical giant.

AstraZeneca maintains its pride in vaccine's role in combating pandemic

Despite the controversy, AstraZeneca maintains its pride in the vaccine's role in combating the global pandemic. Quoted by the Telegraph, the company highlights independent estimates suggesting that millions of lives were saved in the first year of Vaxzevria's use, with billions of doses supplied worldwide. However, amidst accolades from governments and recognition of its contribution, the decision to withdraw the vaccine underscores the delicate balance between public health and commercial interests.

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