AstraZeneca vaccine: AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccine citing a decline...

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Published Time: 08.05.2024 - 03:01:49 Modified Time: 08.05.2024 - 03:01:49

The AstraZeneca vaccine has not been available in Australia since March 21, 2023. AstraZeneca vaccine, AstraZeneca

The AstraZeneca vaccine has not been available in Australia since March 21, 2023.

It was linked to a rare but serious side effect, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TSS), according to the Department of Health and Aged Care.

In TSS, a person develops blood clots (thrombosis), which can appear in different parts of the body, combined with a low blood platelet count.

Other COVID-19 vaccines are not associated with TSS.

Australia was one of the only countries to record an increase in life expectancy from 2019 to 2021, demonstrating the "relative success" of Australia's handling of the pandemic, an infectious diseases expert says.

After AstraZeneca-linked TSS cases were reported in March 2021, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation updated its advice to recommend a different vaccine for under 50 due to their slightly higher risk of developing the condition.

From June 2021, an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine was recommended to under 60.

The Department of Health estimated the rate of TSS from Vaxzevria to be two in every 100,000 in over 60, and two to three in 100,000 in under 60.

Cases were reported in all ages, some mild and others fatal.

Some 13 million AstraZeneca doses were administered in Australia, with 173 "probable" or "confirmed" cases of TSS reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), a Department of Health spokesperson said.

The TGA reported 14 deaths linked to a COVID-19 vaccination, eight of which were associated with a case of TSS, the spokesperson said. No new deaths were identified since 2022.

AstraZeneca admitted that the vaccine caused side-effects such as blood clotting in court documents relating to a UK class action, The Telegraph reported.

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

AstraZeneca began moving into respiratory syncytial virus vaccines and obesity drugs through several deals last year after a slowdown in growth as COVID-19 medicine sales declined.

The latest advice by the Department of Health recommends one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as a primary course for most Australians, or two doses for those at risk of severe illness.

A COVID-19 booster dose is recommended for aged 65 years and over every 12 months.


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