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21 June, 2024

AstraZeneca requests withdrawal of European authorization for COVID-19 vaccine

The decision to withdraw AstraZeneca's vaxzevria comes amid safety concerns and declining global usage

Source: AP

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has formally requested the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to withdraw the European authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria, as confirmed by the EU medicines regulator.

According to an update posted on the EMA's website Wednesday, the withdrawal of approval for AstraZeneca's vaccine was initiated "at the request of the marketing authorization holder."

Initially approved by the EMA in January 2021, AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine encountered safety concerns shortly thereafter, prompting dozens of countries to suspend its use when unusual but rare blood clots were reported in a small number of vaccinated individuals. While the EMA concluded that the overall risk of blood clots from AstraZeneca's shot was not increased, doubts persisted.

Further complicating matters, partial results from the vaccine's first major trial were muddled by a manufacturing error that researchers initially failed to acknowledge. Additionally, insufficient data on the vaccine's efficacy in older populations led some countries to initially limit its use to younger demographics before reversing their decisions.

Despite being widely distributed to poorer nations through a U.N.-coordinated program due to its affordability and ease of production, subsequent studies indicated that the mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna offered superior protection against COVID-19 and its variants. Consequently, many countries transitioned to these vaccines, relegating the AstraZeneca vaccine to limited use.

The United Kingdom, which heavily relied on AstraZeneca's vaccine for its national immunization program, eventually shifted to purchasing mRNA vaccines for booster doses. As a result, the AstraZeneca vaccine is now seldom utilized on a global scale.

Cyprus  |  health  |  World  |  covid

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