COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can prevent people from becoming ill from COVID-19. This vaccine does not contain any live SARS-CoV-2 virus, and cannot give you COVID-19. It contains the genetic code for an important part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus called the spike protein. This code is inserted into a harmless common cold virus (an adenovirus), which brings it into your cells. Your body then makes copies of the spike protein, and your immune system learns to recognise and fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The adenovirus has been modified so that it cannot replicate once it is inside cells. This means it cannot spread to other cells and cause infection.

Vaccination is voluntary and free. You can discuss any concerns or questions you have about COVID-19 vaccination with your immunisation provider and/or your GP before you receive the vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can be used in people aged 18 and above, and is safe and effective. A very rare side effect reported after the AstraZeneca vaccine is ‘thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome’ (TTS), which involves blood clotting and low blood platelet levels. The benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risk of this condition. However, to minimise this risk, Comirnaty (Pfizer) is the preferred COVID-19 vaccine for adults under 50 years of age, and for people with a past history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (a type of brain clot) or heparin induced thrombocytopenia (a rare reaction to heparin treatment), idiopathic splanchnic vein thrombosis (blood clots in the abdominal veins) or antiphospholipid syndrome with thrombosis.

Benefits of vaccination

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca protects people from becoming ill from COVID-19. It particularly prevents severe illness, hospitalisation and death. The vaccine has been shown to be highly effective in both clinical trials (before it was registered for use) and in studies of people vaccinated in the ‘real world’ in England and Scotland.

COVID-19 is a very serious disease which can cause serious illness in people of all ages. It has caused millions of deaths and hundreds of millions of infections worldwide.

Vaccination helps protect both individual people and also benefits all people in the community by reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Risks of vaccination

As with any vaccine, you may have some temporary side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Common side effects after COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca include: injection site pain or tenderness, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, and fever and chills. Most side effects are mild and temporary, going away within 1-2 days. As with any medicine or vaccine, there may be rare and/or unknown side effects.

Things to consider before vaccination - Precautions

People with certain conditions may need additional precautions such as staying for 30 minutes of observation after having their vaccine or consulting an allergy specialist. Tell your immunisation provider if you have had:

  • an allergic reaction to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or to an ingredient of the vaccine

  • anaphylaxis to other vaccines or to other medicines. Your provider can check to ensure there are no common ingredients with the COVID-19 vaccine you are receiving

  • a mast cell disorder

If you have a bleeding disorder or you are taking a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant), tell your immunisation provider. Your provider can help determine whether it is safe for you to have an intramuscular injection and help to decide the best timing for injection.

People with a history of COVID-19

If you have ever had COVID-19 in the past, tell your immunisation provider. Your provider may advise to wait for up to six months after recovery before having a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have ongoing illness from COVID-19, discuss the best timing of vaccination with your treating doctor.

Either COVID-19 vaccine brand can be used in people with a past history of COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and children

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has only been provisionally approved for use in people aged 18 years or older, and cannot be given to younger people. The risk of COVID-19, especially severe disease, in children is lower than in older adolescents and adults.