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Your questions about the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine

Last Updated 1 July 2021

Following recent changes in guidance you may have questions about the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

This page aims to answer your main questions, and direct you to additional sources of information and advice.


Can people aged 18 to 39 years have the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine?

For people aged 18 -39 years without a long term health condition that puts them at greater risk from COVID-19, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) currently advise that it's preferable to have a different COVID-19 vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine where it would not significantly delay vaccination if they have not yet been vaccinated.

If you are aged 18 to 39 years and have already had your first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine it is recommended that you have the AstraZeneca vaccine for your second dose.

There have been reports of a very rare but serious condition involving blood clots and unusual bleeding after vaccination.  Updates of reported cases are included in the MHRA weekly report on COVID-19 vaccine Adverse Drug Reactions.

COVID-19 itself causes blood clots, and about 1 in 5 people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 infection experience serious blood clots as a complication. Being vaccinated with two doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine prevents over 90% of serious complications and deaths from COVID-19. 

For specific information on the AstraZeneca vaccine, see the Patient Information Leaflet

Find out more about COVID-19 and blood clots in this leaflet.

Source: Public Heath Wales (last updated 10 June 2021)


Who is recommended to have the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) currently advise that for people aged over 40 years and those 18-39 years with a health condition that puts them at greater risk from COVID-19, the benefits of being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 outweigh any risk of extremely rare blood clots. 

For specific information on the AstraZeneca vaccine, see the Patient Information Leaflet

Find out more about COVID-19 and blood clots in this leaflet.

Source: Public Heath Wales (last updated 10 June 2021)


Are blood clots a side effect of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine?

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is carrying out an ongoing detailed review of reports of extremely rare blood clots after the AstraZeneca vaccine.

These rare clots can also happen in people who have not been vaccinated and it is not yet clear why it affects some people.

The COVID-19 vaccine can reduce the risk of you getting seriously ill or dying from coronavirus by over 90%, including preventing blood clots caused by coronavirus. For people aged 40 or over and those with other long term health conditions, the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any risk of extremely rare clots.

For people aged 18 -39 years without other long term health conditions, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) currently advise that it's preferable to have a different COVID-19 vaccine where it would not cause significant delay instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

You should seek prompt medical advice if you get any of these symptoms starting from around 4 days to 4 weeks after being vaccinated:

  • a severe headache that is not relieved with painkillers or is getting worse
  • a headache that feels worse when you lie down or bend over
  • a headache that's unusual for you and occurs with blurred vision, feeling or being sick, problems speaking, weakness, drowsiness or seizures (fits)
  • a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin
  • shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal (tummy) pain

Find out more about COVID-19 and blood clots in this leaflet.  

For specific information on the AstraZeneca vaccine, see the Patient Information Leaflet

 

Source: Public Heath Wales (last updated 10 June 2021)


What about the second dose?

If you are aged 18 to 39 years and have already had your first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine it is recommended that you have the AstraZeneca vaccine for your second dose.

If you have already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without suffering any serious side effects you should complete the course. This includes people aged 18 to 39 years who are health and social care workers, unpaid carers and family members of those who are immunosuppressed. It is expected that the first dose of the vaccine will have given you some protection, particularly against severe disease.

Source: Public Heath Wales (last updated 10 June 2021)

Please note that if you have an enquiry that specifically relates to the delivery of your second dose of AstraZeneca at your GP Practice then you should contact your GP Practice.


What about vaccination in pregnancy and breastfeeding?

More information about vaccination in pregnancy and breastfeeding is available from our pregnancy and breastfeeding page.

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