The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has clarified that the withdrawal of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is primarily due to commercial reasons.

AstraZeneca, one of the vaccines used during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, has announced a global withdrawal of its vaccines. 

The pharmaceutical giant cited the existence of an uncommon adverse effect known as Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) as the reason behind this decision.

TTS is characterised by the formation of blood clots that obstruct veins or arteries, leading to potentially severe complications such as strokes or heart attacks. 

Symptoms may include unilateral leg pain and swelling, chest discomfort, or one-sided body numbness. The company’s acknowledgement of these risks has prompted the withdrawal of its vaccines from circulation.

The withdrawal is not a result of medical implications but rather due to commercial competition and a surplus of available updated vaccines since the pandemic. 

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, clarified this during a tour as part of the COVID-19 Vaccination and Child Health Promotion Week/African Vaccination Week Campaign in various parts of the Ga East Municipality in Accra on Wednesday, May 8.

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye emphasized that while the withdrawal may raise concerns, it is important to understand that the decision is not related to the vaccine’s efficacy or safety. Instead, it is driven by market dynamics and the availability of newer vaccine options.

“They are withdrawing for commercial reasons in the sense that there are superior vaccines in the market.”

“And so if you are in a market and you will not be able to compete why produce something when others will go for some other brand,” he said.