Vaccine COVID

The European Medicines Authority (EMA) has withdrawn its authorisation for the COVID-19 vaccine produced by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, on the company’s request, drawing yet another curtain on the global pandemic that shaped world developments in the first half of the ’20s.

The withdrawal of authorisation is just the latest step in the phase-out of the vaccine, which is no longer in widespread production or use.

However, the vaccine’s exit is shaping up to be surrounded by the same concerns that characterised its introduction, as the firm recently admitted, in court, that the vaccine may cause blood clots.

The legal filing is comes as the company faces over 50 lawsuits from victims and their families, who are seeking some £100 million (€116 million) in damages.

Shadow Minister for Health Adrian Delia reacted to the news by saying that he will be posing a series of parliamentary questions to the Government to obtain more information.

“The Government has the obligation to inform and assure the people,” he said.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine rollout in early 2021 was marred by similar concerns, and it was stopped in some countries. In April 2021, the EMA concluded that although there is a possible link between the vaccine and the onset of thrombosis, but nonetheless argued that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks.

In a statement, AstraZeneca touted the vaccine’s success, citing independent estimates that “6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of use alone.”

Over three billion doses of the vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford University with financial support from the UK Government, and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, were distributed in over 150 countries.

The vaccine was easier and cheaper to produce, but less effective, than several competitors using mRNA methods, such as those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

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