AstraZeneca to withdraw Covid vaccine worldwide, citing a drop in demand


In this photo illustration a covid-19 vaccine is seen with the AstraZeneca logo in the background. (Photo Illustration by Nikos Pekiaridis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Wednesday said it planned to withdraw its Covid-19 vaccine as demand for it has declined.

Demand for AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria vaccine began tapering off as new vaccines tailored to specific Covid variants have emerged, the pharmaceutical company said in a statement.

“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 Vaxzervria, which is no longer being manufactured or supplied,” the statement said.

AstraZeneca said it would now work with regulators and partners to establish a path forward. AstraZeneca in March 2024 voluntarily withdrew its marketing authorization in the European Union, which previously allowed it to promote the vaccine.

The Vaxzevria vaccine was developed with the University of Oxford and was one of the first shots against Covid-19 to hit the market during the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of people around the world receiving it.

The U.K. was the first country to roll out the shot in January 2021, around a year after the World Health Organization first characterized the Covid-19 outbreak as a pandemic.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine, despite confirmation of its safety and efficacy, has at times been met with concerns about side effects after a small number of people began to experience blood clots linked to the vaccine. A U.K. study found that blood clots were “rare” but could be “devastating.”

The pharmaceutical maker on Wednesday said it was “incredibly proud” of the vaccine’s role during the 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,” its statement said.

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

Next to Covid vaccines, AstraZeneca has been working on a range of other treatments for illnesses, such as cancer. The company said in March that it would buy clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc, which specializes in cancer treatments.   

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