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CSL (ASX:CSL) share price remains near 52-week low on COVID-19 vaccine delays

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The CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price is failing to make a meaningful comeback after spending months moving sideways. The global biotech’s shares finished yesterday market session at $263.60, just 8% above its 52-week low reached in early March. At the time of writing, the CSL share price is up slightly, trading for $263.69.

Below, we take a closer look at what could be weighing down CSL shares.

COVID-19 vaccine delay

While most of the world looks towards advancing past the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has been locked in vaccine holdups. This comes after a reported 2.5 million AstraZeneca doses are being kept in cold storage at CSL’s facilities in Melbourne.

The reason for the postponement is because Europe is undergoing further batch testing of the AstraZeneca vaccine. More and more cases are being reported with blood clotting, including one Melbournian who was found to have abdominal clots and low platelet levels.

AstraZeneca has confirmed that there is a clear link between the vaccine and blood clots but notes that the benefits outweigh the risks. As a result of the serious side effects, Australian health authorities are taking the potential risk very seriously.

The concerning news has ultimately affected the CSL share price, which has remained near its 52-week low.

Currently, 877,790 Australians have received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine since the program began on 22 February. Well and truly behind the government’s original target to have 4 million people vaccinated by the end of March.

Secretary of the Department of Health, Brendan Murphy, reiterated CSL’s commitment to producing over a million doses per week. Mr. Murphy believes that the biotech giant will reach this target in the coming weeks. However, the company is working on the time taken to approve each batch release, without going through international clearance processes.

Furthermore, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison will write to the European Union asking for more COVID-19 doses to be exported. This is all while the majority of the locally-producing COVID-19 vaccines remain on ice until approved for use.

CSL share price review

Over the past 12 months, the CSL share price has backtracked around 15%, particularly heading lower in recent times. The company’s shares reached a 52-week high of $332.68 last April, and have travelled in circles ever since.

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Aaron Teboneras owns shares of CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of CSL Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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