The European Commission has withdrawn the marketing authorisation to AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine Vaxzevria, on the company’s request.

The Commission’s decision comes into effect today (May 7th)). An application to withdraw was made by AstraZeneca on March 5th 2024.

“Our efforts have been recognised by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic. As multiple, variants of 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,” AstraZeneca said in its statement to queries from businessline.

Covishield Controversy

The company is currently facing a class action suit in the UK, from a small number of families affected by the vaccine, media reports from the UK said. The company is reported to have said in Court documents (in February) that the vaccine could “in very rare cases, cause TTS” (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome – blood clots and low platelet counts), according to reports.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine was produced and sold in India through an alliance with Serum Institute of India, under the brand name Covishield. Over 170 crore doses of this vaccine were given in India. The company did not comment on the UK development, since the case was in Court.

Meanwhile, Indian families where a member allegedly countered an adverse effect from the vaccine or died, are also preparing to take the legal recourse.

A person familiar with the development said, the application to withdraw was not due to safety issues.

AstraZeneca’s statement said, “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.” Further, it added, that they would work with regulators and partners “to align on a clear path forward to conclude this chapter.”