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Why has AstraZeneca recalled Covid-19 vaccine

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Shillong, May 8: In a significant move, pharma giant AstraZeneca has recalled its Covid-19 vaccine, made in collaboration with Oxford University, worldwide, months after admitting in the UK court about its potential rare blood clot side effect.

The company voluntarily withdrew its “marketing authorisation” of its Covid vaccine, sold as Covishield in India and Vaxzevria in Europe. It can now no longer be used in the European Union, the Telegraph reported.

While the company made the application to withdraw the vaccine on March 5, it came into effect on Tuesday.

Credited for saving more than six million lives, AstraZeneca “accepted, in a legal document submitted to the High Court in February, that its Covid vaccine ‘can, in very rare cases, cause TTS’,” the report said.

Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Syndrome (TTS) is a rare side effect that can cause people to have blood clots and a low blood platelet count, linked to at least 81 deaths in the UK as well as hundreds of serious injuries.

The British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical is also being sued by more than 50 alleged victims and grieving relatives in a High Court case in the UK.

However, AstraZeneca noted that the vaccine is being withdrawn for “commercial reasons” and is “not linked to the court case”, and that “the timing was pure coincidence”.

Because of multiple Covid variants and related-vaccines, “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 said in a statement.

The company noted that it will collaborate with global regulatory authorities “to initiate marketing authorisation withdrawals for Vaxzevria, where no future commercial demand for the vaccine is expected”. (IANS)

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