AstraZeneca announces global withdrawal of its COVID-19 vaccine

The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has made the decision to voluntarily withdraw their COVID-19 vaccine worldwide. This announcement comes after the possibility was recognized that the vaccine could be linked to the appearance of side effects, particularly cases of thrombosis.

This move represents a significant step by AstraZeneca to address concerns about the safety of its vaccine. Although the vaccine has been widely used in the fight against the pandemic, Reports of possible side effects have created uncertainty and led the company to make this decision.

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In an update posted on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) website, the European Union's medicines regulator said: approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been withdrawn “at the request of the marketing authorization holder.”

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine was first approved by the EMA in January 2021. However, a few weeks later, concerns grew about the vaccine's safety, when dozens of countries suspended its use after detecting unusual and rare blood clots in a small number of vaccinated people. The European Union's regulatory body concluded that The AstraZeneca vaccine did not increase the overall risk of clots, but questions remained.

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Partial results from its first large trial — used by the United Kingdom to authorize the vaccine — were overshadowed by a manufacturing error that was not immediately recognized by investigators. Insufficient data on the vaccine's effectiveness in older people led some countries to initially restrict its use to younger populations before backtracking.

Billions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were distributed to poor countries through a U.N.-coordinated program because it was cheaper and easier to produce and distribute. However, later studies indicated that the messenger RNA vaccines, made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, gave better protection against COVID-19 and its many variants, and most countries adopted them even though they were more expensive.

The UK's 2021 national coronavirus vaccination program saw extensive use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, largely developed by scientists at the University of Oxford with significant financial support from the government. But even the United Kingdom later turned to purchasing messenger RNA vaccines for its COVID vaccine booster programs, and the AstraZeneca vaccine is currently used very little in the world.

(With information from AP)