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AstraZeneca removes its Covid vaccine worldwide after rare and dangerous side effect linked to 80 deaths

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DailyMail


AstraZeneca is removing its Covid vaccine worldwide, months after the pharmaceutical giant admitted that it can cause a rare and dangerous side effect.

The jab, developed by Oxford University, can no longer be used in the European Union after the company voluntarily withdrew its ‘marketing authorisation’, coming into effect today.

Similar applications to withdraw the vaccine will be made in other countries that had previously approved it, including the UK.

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Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Authority discontinued use of the vaccine in April 2023.

The vaccine, once heralded as a ‘triumph for British science’, has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for a very rare side effect causing blood clots and low blood platelet counts.

The AstraZeneca jab was the most widely used in the UK during the initial rollout of the vaccination programme – before it was linked to a risk in blood clots

AstraZeneca admitted in February that the vaccine can, in very rare cases, cause Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome – which has been linked to more than 80 deaths in Britain as well as hundreds of serious injuries.

More than 50 alleged victims and grieving relatives are currently suing the company in a High Court case.

However, AstraZeneca denies that the decision to withdraw the vaccine is related to the court case, insisting that the vaccine is instead being removed from markets for commercial reasons.

The company said in court documents that the vaccine is reportedly no longer being manufactured or supplied, having been superseded by updated vaccines that tackle newer variants.

In a statement to the Daily Telegraph, the company 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.

‘Our efforts have been recognised by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic.

Researchers believe the rare side effect occurs due to the modified cold virus lurking in the jab having an adverse effect on platelets in the blood, triggering clotting

Researchers believe the rare side effect occurs due to the modified cold virus lurking in the jab having an adverse effect on platelets in the blood, triggering clotting

The graph shows the cumulative number of Covid jabs dished out in the UK since the pandemic began, the percentage of each age group which has had a jab (bottom left) and the number of each Covid vaccine brand dished out

The graph shows the cumulative number of Covid jabs dished out in the UK since the pandemic began, the percentage of each age group which has had a jab (bottom left) and the number of each Covid vaccine brand dished out

‘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 taken the decision to initiate withdrawal of the marketing authorisations for Vaxzevria within Europe.

‘We will now work with regulators and our partners to align on a clear path forward to conclude this chapter and significant contribution to the Covid-19 pandemic.’