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HomeDiseaseAstraZeneca withdrawing COVID vaccine worldwide, British newspaper reports

AstraZeneca withdrawing COVID vaccine worldwide, British newspaper reports

Jamaica Observer-The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine is being withdrawn worldwide after the company admitted in court documents that it can cause a rare and dangerous side effect, Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Tuesday.

“The vaccine can no longer be used in the European Union after the company voluntarily withdrew its ‘marketing authorisation’. The application to withdraw the vaccine was made on March 5 and came into effect on Tuesday,” the Telegraph said.

“Similar applications will be made in the coming months in the UK and in other countries that had approved the vaccine, known as Vaxzevria,” the newspaper added.

Attempts by the Jamaica Observer late Tuesday evening to find out from local health officials whether Vaxzevria is the same vaccine that was used here during the pandemic were not successful, as calls to their cellphones rang without answer.

According to the Telegraph, the decision to withdraw the vaccine brings to an end the use of the jab, which was heralded by former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a “triumph for British science” and was credited with saving more than six million lives.

“AstraZeneca said the vaccine was being removed from markets for commercial reasons. It said the vaccine was no longer being manufactured or supplied, having been superseded by updated vaccines that tackle new variants,” the Telegraph reported.

The newspaper said that Vaxzevria has come under intense scrutiny in recent months due to a very rare side effect that causes blood clots and low blood platelet counts. AstraZeneca admitted in court documents lodged with the High Court in February that the vaccine “can, in very rare cases, cause TTS”, which stands for thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome and has been linked to at least 81 deaths in the UK as well as hundreds of serious injuries.

AstraZeneca is being sued by more than 50 alleged victims and grieving relatives in a High Court case. However, AstraZeneca has insisted the decision to withdraw the vaccine is not linked to the court case or its admission that it can cause TTS. It said the timing was pure coincidence, the Telegraph report said.

“We are incredibly proud of the role Vaxzevria played in ending the global pandemic. According to independent estimates, over 6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of use alone and over three billion doses were supplied globally,” the Telegraph reported the company as saying in a statement.

“Our efforts have been recognised by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic. As multiple, variant COVID-19 vaccines have since been developed, there is a surplus of available updated vaccines. This has led to a decline in demand for Vaxzevria, which is no longer being manufactured or supplied. AstraZeneca has, therefore, decided to initiate withdrawal of the marketing authorisations for Vaxzevria within Europe,” the company added.