AstraZeneca vaccine withdrawn globally

AstraZeneca has globally withdrawn its Covid vaccine, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration discontinued the immunisation in 2023. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine has been withdrawn globally after admitting it causes adverse side effects.

As reported by the UK’s Telegraph, the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical producer withdrew the vaccine globally on Tuesday, UK time.

It comes after Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Authority discontinued use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in April 2023.

Annastacia Palaszczuk
AstraZeneca last week said its Covid vaccine could cause fatal blood clots. NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

On April 30, AstraZeneca conceded that the vaccine, sold under the name Vaxzevria, can cause fatal blood clots and low platelet counts. The admission came through court documents in a UK class action lawsuit that sought £100 million for almost 50 victims of AstraZeneca vaccine side effects.

The application to withdraw the vaccine was made on March 5 and came into effect on May 7.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in Australia for people aged 18 years and over as a primary course from February 15, 2021 and as a booster from February 8, 2022.

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Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian received the AstraZeneca vaccine at at St George Hospital in Kogarah on March 10, 2021. Picture: POOL by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images via NCA NewsWire

In the same period Pfizer and Moderna provided Covid vaccines to Australia that were recommended over the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In June 2021 the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommended that Australians over the age of 60 avoid taking Vaxzevria.

While Australians have not been administered Vaxzevria since its discontinuation, it remained provisionally approved by the Department of Health.

The last batch in Australia reportedly expired on March 21, 2023.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged those over 60 to take the AstraZeneca vaccine, rather than holding out for Moderna or Pfizer doses to become available. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Daniel Pockett

The ATAGI advised of fatal blood clotting was around 3.1 per 100,000 for people over 50 years and 1.8 per 100,000 for people under 50 years.

In September 2021 then-PM Scott Morrison urged Australians over 60 to get the AstraZeneca vaccine instead of waiting for Pfizer doses.

“I encourage everyone, particularly Australians over 60, to go out and get vaccinated,” Mr Morrison said to the Herald Sun.

“Getting vaccinated can save your life, protect your family and it means a return to more normal life with family and friends and seeing the grandchildren.”