"Sympathy Goes Out To...": AstraZeneca Amid Row Over Vaccine Side Effects

Amid concerns regarding potential side effects associated with the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, the pharmaceutical giant on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to patient safety.

May 1, 2024 - 08:45
"Sympathy Goes Out To...": AstraZeneca Amid Row Over Vaccine Side Effects

Amid concerns over potential side effects associated with the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, the pharmaceutical giant on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to patient safety after acknowledging that the vaccine can, in some rare cases, lead to blood clots and low platelet count. The vaccine, marketed as Covishield in India, was produced by the Serum Institute of India and widely administered in the country.

Although this was not the first time that AstraZeneca admitted to side effects associated with its Covid vaccine, a UK court case involving a 100 million pound class action lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company saw it conceding that the vaccine can indeed cause Thrombosis Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) in very rare cases.

"Our sympathy goes out to anyone who has lost loved ones or reported health problems. Patient safety is our highest priority, and regulatory authorities have clear and stringent standards to ensure the safe use of all medicines, including vaccines," AstraZeneca said in a statement. 

Regulatory agencies worldwide continue to maintain that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks posed by exceedingly rare side effects.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described the vaccine as "safe and effective for all individuals aged 18 and above", with the adverse effect that has prompted the legal action being "very rare".

The Serum Institute of India developed the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine using a viral vector platform rather than mRNA technology. This vaccine employs a modified chimpanzee adenovirus, ChAdOx1, to transport the COVID-19 spike protein into human cells. While this cold virus cannot effectively infect recipients, it effectively "teaches" the immune system to defend against similar viruses.

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