MoH clarifies AstraZeneca vaccine situation

May 12, 2024 12:23 pm

[Source: Fiji Government/ Facebook]

The Ministry of Health says it is aware that AstraZeneca has recently announced the withdrawal of its COVID-19 vaccine worldwide citing a surplus of available updated vaccines that target new variants of the virus.

There has been a drop in demand for the AstraZeneca vaccine as it is less effective than newer vaccines against the latest variants.

The MoH has released this statement following an article published by the Fiji Times that this vaccine is banned in Australia, saying it needs correcting.

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The MoH says the Australian Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration stated on April 24th, that AstraZeneca had voluntarily cancelled the vaccine from the ARTG and the “cancellation of this vaccine was a business decision of the company, due to no current or anticipated future demand for the vaccine, and follows similar business decisions made overseas”.

The Ministry is urging vigilance by the media in using credible sources of information for their news reports.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was used in Fiji from March 2021 to February 2022, and its rapid rollout during the Delta outbreak in 2021 saved many lives.

The Astrazeneca vaccine has not been available in Fiji since February 2022, as stocks had depleted, and the Ministry had acquired the Moderna and then Pfizer vaccines, which were more effective against the Omicron variant.

The MoH also stresses that a new side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine has not been discovered.

The Ministry states that by the end of 2021, 698 people had died from COVID-19 in Fiji, and there is no doubt that many more would have died without the AstraZeneca vaccine.