Headline RoundupMay 8th, 2024

AstraZeneca Withdraws COVID-19 Vaccine

Summary from the AllSides News Team

U.K.-based pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced Wednesday that it would withdraw its COVID-19 vaccine Vaxzevria worldwide, weeks after withdrawing the vaccine’s European Union marketing authorization. 

Key Quote: An AstraZeneca statement provided to news outlets said: “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.” 

Low Demand: AstraZeneca withdrew its application for FDA approval for the vaccine in 2022. Several countries had already stopped circulating the Vaxzevria, and AstraZeneca said it had not made any revenue on the vaccine since April 2023. 

Health Risks: In late April, AstraZeneca said in court documents that its COVID-19 vaccine “can, in very rare cases, cause TTS,” a condition causing blood clots and a low blood platelet count. However, the company pointed to an earlier 2021 product information update saying the vaccine was possibly “capable, in very rare cases, of being a trigger for” TTS. 

How the Media Covered It: News coverage was more common in European and Indian outlets, likely because the AstraZeneca vaccine was not approved in the U.S. Some coverage echoed old partisan attitudes about the vaccines. While CNN (Lean Left bias) introduced the vaccine as “highly successful” and highlighted the “low demand” explanation, Fox Business (Lean Right bias) and some U.K. outlets highlighted the recent side effects news, potentially implying that it was the true reason for the withdrawal. Coverage across the spectrum noted that the vaccine saved millions of lives during the pandemic. 

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