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Not producing, distributing Covishield since December 2021: Serum Institute

AstraZeneca Covid vaccine row: As of April 30, 2024, over 1.7 billion doses of the Covishield vaccine has been administered in India

Covishield, Vaccine, AstraZeneca

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Rimjhim Singh New Delhi

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The Serum Institute of India (SII), manufacturer of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine branded as Covishield, announced that it has stopped the production and distribution of vaccine doses since December 2021.

After AstraZeneca withdrew its Covid vaccine, the SII said it acknowledges and fully understands the ongoing concerns regarding the vaccine from the UK pharmaceutical company, according to a report in Moneycontrol.

A spokesperson from SII said the company is committed to transparency and safety, emphasising that all necessary measures had been undertaken to disclose the vaccine's rare side effects.

On May 7, the UK firm had announced its decision to globally withdraw its Covid vaccine, citing the availability of numerous newer vaccine options as the reason. Furthermore, AstraZeneca intends to retract marketing authorisations for its vaccine, Vaxzevria, across Europe, citing decreased demand and the discontinuation of production and supply.

On April 29, AstraZeneca, a leading manufacturer of Covid-19 vaccines distributed to millions globally, particularly in India, stated in the UK court documents for the first time that its Covid-19 vaccine, marketed worldwide as Covishield and Vaxzevria, among other names, may be associated with a rare and potentially fatal side effect, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

In January 2021, Pune-based SII entered into a strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to produce the Covishield vaccine for India and various low- and middle-income nations. As of April 30, 2024, over 1.7 billion doses of the Covishield vaccines have been administered in India.

Side effects of AstraZeneca vaccine

The World Health Organisation (WHO) outlines the potential side-effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which generally consist of mild to moderate symptoms that are typically short-lived and resolve on their own. Typical side-effects reported post-AstraZeneca vaccination include discomfort at the injection site, fatigue, fever, headache, nausea, muscle or joint pain, swelling, redness at the injection site, dizziness, drowsiness, and sweating.

Following the controversy, various countries banned the vaccine, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, Congo, and Bulgaria. Certain European nations such as Germany, France, Italy, and Spain stopped the administration of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine in 2021 due to instances of blood clotting among vaccinated individuals.

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First Published: May 09 2024 | 12:33 PM IST

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