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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 15 June 2024 5.23 PM IST

AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccine worldwide due to rare side effects

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NEW DELHI: AstraZeneca, the UK-based pharmaceutical company, has withdrawn its COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 (known as Covishield in India) from the market worldwide due to concerns over rare side effects. The company cited "commercial reasons" for the withdrawal, which took effect in EU countries on Tuesday, with steps also being taken to withdraw from the Indian market. AstraZeneca clarified that the decision is not related to any court cases or disclosures but is instead due to reduced demand for the vaccine and the availability of modified vaccines targeting new COVID-19 variants.

The company informed the UK High Court that the vaccine could rarely lead to strokes and heart attacks, as well as a medical condition called Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS), characterized by blood clots and a decrease in platelet count.

The Serum Institute of India ceased production of Covishield in December 2021 due to declining demand caused by the emergence of new virus variants. It's noted that vaccines have saved millions of lives globally, and the packaging itself acknowledges the possibility of rare side effects. It's estimated that 1.75 billion doses have been administered in India.

The Ministry of Health clarified that the central government has not procured any COVID-19 vaccines from any company for the past two years, opting instead to study the side effects of Covishield. A public interest petition has been filed in the Supreme Court to establish a committee of medical experts under the supervision of a Supreme Court judge, as demanded by Advocate Vishal Tiwari.

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