Serum Institute Asserts Transparency in Covishield Side Effects Amid AstraZeneca’s Vaccine Withdrawal

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Pune, 9th May 2024: The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) asserted on Wednesday that it had meticulously divulged all rare to very rare side effects associated with the COVID-19 vaccine, marketed as Covishield, in the packaging insert issued in 2021.

This declaration from Serum Institute comes in the wake of UK-based pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca’s decision to globally withdraw its Covid-19 vaccine due to an “excess of available updated vaccines” amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. AstraZeneca had previously acknowledged in a UK court that its vaccine could, in extremely rare instances, trigger a side effect known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

The Covid-19 vaccine formula developed by AstraZeneca served as the basis for SII’s Covishield manufacturing process.

“As India achieved high vaccination rates in 2021 and 2022, alongside the emergence of new mutant variant strains, the demand for earlier vaccines substantially dwindled. Consequently, since December 2021, we have ceased the production and distribution of additional doses of Covishield,” stated SII in an official statement.

Regarding potential vaccine side effects, the Serum Institute emphasized its full awareness of public concerns. “From the outset, we have transparently disclosed all rare to very rare side effects, including thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), in the packaging insert distributed in 2021,” the statement reiterated.

Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) involves the formation of blood clots coupled with low platelet counts. While this condition is rare, health experts emphasize its potential seriousness, particularly when blood clots develop in major blood vessels.