Updated May 8th, 2024 at 22:51 IST

'Safety of the Vaccine Remains Paramount': Serum Institute on AstraZeneca's Covid Jabs' Withdrawal

In its statement, SII said that the company has, from the onset, disclosed all rare and very rare side effects of the Covid vaccine in its packaging insert.

Reported by: Digital Desk
AstraZeneca recently announced a worldwide withdrawal of its widely used Covid vaccine. | Image:Unsplash/ Representative

New Delhi: In a statement made on Wednesday, the Serum Institute of India (SII) reacted to the news of AstraZeneca withdrawing its COVID-19 vaccine Vaxzevria by saying that the company fully understands “ongoing concerns” about the vaccine and its side effects while noting that SII remains committed to “transparency and safety”. For context, the SII helped manufacture the aforementioned Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine in India under the label of Covishield.

As part of an ongoing class action lawsuit in the UK wherein the company stands accused of causing severe injuries and deaths with its vaccine, AstraZeneca admitted in court documents that Vaxzevria, in rare cases, can cause TTS or Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome which is characterised by low platelet count and blood clotting. 


Back in 2021, several European countries had already stopped or limited the use of the vaccine over the side effects, with regulators saying that TTP should be listed as a rare side effect. In April of the same year, the World Health Organisation also highlighted the potentially dangerous if rare side effects of the vaccine though the organisation noted that the benefits of the vaccine still outweighed the risks. 

Nevertheless, AstraZeneca's admission of the side effects in a court document led to significant controversy worldwide, amplified by the fact that the company had insisted last year that it would “not accept that TTS is caused by the vaccine at a generic level.”


Weeks after, the company announced that it would be withdrawing its widely used vaccine, citing business reasons for the same. The company said that, as several COVID vaccines have been developed to tackle new variants of the virus, there is an abundance of such vaccines which has led to a fall in demand for Vaxzevria. As such, the company announced it would withdraw any remaining stocks of the vaccine worldwide. 

It was following the news of this withdrawal that SII made its own statement on the same. The company not only noted that it had stopped manufacturing the vaccine back in December 2021 but that it has also remained diligent in highlighting all of the known side effects of the vaccine from the onset in the packaging insert.  


“Despite the challenges faced during the global pandemic, the safety of the vaccine remains paramount. Regardless of whether it's AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria or our own Covishield, both vaccines have been instrumental in saving millions of lives worldwide. We commend the collaborative efforts of governments and ministries in facilitating a unified global response to the pandemic,” SII concluded in its statement.  


Published May 8th, 2024 at 22:13 IST