AstraZeneca is withdrawing its vaccine globally after admitting it can cause potentially deadly blood clots

News & Politics

British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is taking its COVID-19 vaccine off the market worldwide.

While the move follows hard on the heels of the company’s admission that its shot can cause potentially deadly blood clots and in the face of a class-action lawsuit brought by apparent victims and deceased victims’ families, AstraZeneca has attributed the withdrawal to commercial considerations.

Background

The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was a viral-vector vaccine developed in collaboration with Oxford University and produced for various companies by the Serum Institute of India. It relied upon a modified version of a chimpanzee adenovirus and was sold under various brand names, including Vaxzevria and Covishield.

Blaze News previously reported that the shot was approved for use in the U.K. in December 2020 and later approved by the World Health Organization. While never approved for rollout in the U.S., the Biden administration agreed to share up to 60 million doses with other nations.

Within a year of approval, the vaccine had been injected over 2.5 billion times worldwide.

The vaccine was not only touted by then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a “triumph for British science” but passed off as “safe and effective” by the mainstream media and various so-called experts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Some unfortunate members of the British public and others around the world similarly cajoled into getting the vaccine were soon left with a firsthand understanding that the so-called experts were dead wrong.

Doctors started noticing in 2021 that otherwise healthy people were ending up with grievous injuries or even dying after receiving the AstaZeneca shot. Facing mounting evidence of a link between the vaccine and adverse side effects, various countries temporarily took the shot off the market, citing reports of abnormal bleeding, low blood platelets, blood clots, and sudden deaths.

German and Nordic researchers determined that some vaccine recipients were developing a clotting disorder called “vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia,” which generated antibodies that activated platelets and led to clots. Researchers indicated that the odds of the vaccine harming recipients was one in 100,000 — a higher likelihood than the vaccine actually keeping patients under 30 out of the hospital with COVID.

The Telegraph reported that among the hundreds of suspected thrombo-embolic events documented among British AstraZeneca patients, at least seven were ultimately fatal for victims in the 18-29 age cohort; 10 were fatal for victims ages 30-39; 17 were fatal for victims ages 40-49; 21 were fatal for victims ages 50-59; 11 were fatal for victims ages 60-69; seven were fatal for victims ages 70-79; and four were fatal for those 80 and over.

Legal action and admission

Jamie Scott, a father of two who was left with a permanent clot-related brain injury following his AstraZeneca vaccination in April 2021, sued the company last year. His effort to hold the pharmaceutical giant accountable set off an avalanche of similar complaints.

In the months since, over 50 other alleged vaccine victims have joined a class-action lawsuit against the company.

The Telegraph reported that the company told Scott’s lawyers last year it did “not accept that [thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome] is caused by the vaccine at a generic level.”

However, AstraZeneca admitted in a February court document that “it is admitted that the AZ vaccine can, in very rare cases, cause TTS. The causal mechanism is not known.”

According to the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences, “very rare” side effects are those that occur in less than one in 10,000 cases, reported the Independent.

This admission was a big deal granted the company had repeatedly denied causation over the years.

For instance, in a March 14, 2021, statement, AstraZeneca claimed that a careful review showed “no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.”

Withdrawal

According to the Telegraph, AstraZeneca voluntarily withdrew its “marketing authorization” in the European Union on March 5, just weeks after filing court documents containing its blood-clot admission. This withdrawal application went into effect on Tuesday.

“This decision to withdraw marketing authorization, ending the usage of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the EU, will be welcomed,” said a lawyer for the alleged victims of the vaccine, now engaged in a class-action lawsuit against the company.

The company, which did over $12 billion in product sales in Q1 2024, is expected to follow suit in other markets around the globe where its vaccine was approved.

The reason provided for the withdrawal is that the vaccine has been made redundant by other “updated vaccines.”

AstraZeneca reportedly said in a statement, “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 recognized by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic,” continued the 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 Vaxzevria, which is no longer being manufactured or supplied. AstraZeneca has therefore taken the decision to initiate withdrawal of the marketing authorizations 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,” added the company.

Sarah Moore, a partner with the law firm representing the group action, told the Telegraph, “To those who we represent, all of whom have suffered bereavement or serious injury as a result of the AstraZeneca vaccine, this decision to withdraw marketing authorization, ending the usage of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the EU, will be welcomed.”

Moore suggested further that the withdrawal will be viewed as a “decision linked with AstraZeneca’s recent admission that the vaccine can cause TTS, and the fact that regulators across the world suspended or stopped usage of the vaccine following concerns regarding TTS.”

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