AstraZeneca, manufacturer of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, has begun withdrawing it from the market because of greater availability of more up-to-date vaccines that now target newer varients of the virus.

The pharmaceutical company said in a statement that these alternate vaccine products have led to a decline in demand for Vaxzevria. The vaccine is no longer being manufactured.

The announcement follows the company’s withdrawal of its European Union marketing authorisation in March. More recently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a notice on 7 May which states that the vaccine is no longer authorised for use.

“Our efforts have been recognised by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic. We will now work with regulators and our partners to align on a clear path forward to conclude this chapter and significant contribution to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in a press release.

First adminstered in the UK on 4 January 2021, Vaxzevria was indicated for the prevention of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 in adults.

As of April 2024, the variants circulating in the UK are a mix of JN.1 sublinages known collectively as ‘FLiRT.’ The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of vaccines updated in 2023-2024 including those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax.


Further reading

AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccine worldwide

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Stay up to datw with COVID-19 Vaccines