Information about Covid-19 vaccine

Information about Covid-19 vaccine

Vaccines are safe

The Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They give you and others around you the best protection against the virus. 

Like every other vaccine, the Covid-19 vaccines have been thoroughly tested to ensure they are safe for all. Furthermore, the independent regulator (MHRA) would not approve any vaccines if they was not found to be safe. 

Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine: questions and answers

How does the AstraZeneca vaccine protect against Covid-19?

Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca stimulates the body’s natural defences (immune system). It causes the body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the virus. This will help to protect you against Covid-19 in the future. None of the ingredients in this vaccine can cause Covid -19.

How is the AstraZeneca vaccine given?

The vaccine is injected into a muscle (usually in the upper arm).

You will receive two injections, and you will be told when you need to return for your second injection.

The second injection can be given between 4 and 12 weeks after the first injection.

It is important that you attend your second vaccination appointment. If you do forget to return at your scheduled time please ask your doctor or nurse for advice.

What should I tell my doctor or nurse before receiving the vaccine?

You should let your vaccinator know if any of the following applies to you, before you have your vaccine:

  • If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) after any other vaccine injection
  • If you currently have a severe infection with a high temperature (over 38°C). However, a mild fever or infection, like a cold, are not reasons to delay vaccination
  • If you have a problem with bleeding or bruising, or if you are taking a blood thinning medicine (anticoagulant)
  • If your immune system does not work properly (immunodeficiency) or you are taking medicines that weaken the immune system (such as high-dose corticosteroids, immunosuppressants or cancer medicines).
  • If you are taking, have recently taken or might take, any other medicines or vaccines.

What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, think you may be pregnant, or are planning to have a baby, tell your pharmacist, doctor or nurse. They can answer any questions you may have and discuss whether you can be given the vaccine.

Can I drive and use machinery after receving the vaccine?

The AstraZeneca vaccine has no known effect on the ability to drive and use machines. However, some of the side effects listed above may impact your ability to do these tasks safely - if you feel unwell please do not drive or use machinery.

Who should not have the vaccine?

If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any of the active substances or ingredients in the vaccine, you must not have it. Your nurse or doctor will go through all the safety checks with you, but please ask if you are concerned.

Signs of an allergic reaction may include itchy skin rash, shortness of breath and swelling of the face or tongue. Contact your doctor or healthcare professional immediately or go to the nearest hospital right away if you have an allergic reaction.

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine linked to increased blood clots?

On 7 April 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the UK Government on immunisation, released a statement on use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

JCVI has weighed the relative balance of benefits and risks and advise that the benefits of prompt vaccination with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine far outweigh the risk of adverse events for individuals 30 years of age and over and those who have underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease. 

To date, there are no reports of the extremely rare thrombosis/thrombocytopenia events following receipt of the second dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. All those who have received a first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine should continue to be offered a second dose of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, irrespective of age.

Visit the GOV.uk website for more information about the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine: questions and answers

How does the Pfizer vaccine protect against Covid-19?

The Pfizer vaccine can be given to adults and adolescents from 16 years.

The vaccine triggers the body’s natural production of antibodies and stimulates immune cells to protect against Covid-19.

How is the Pfizer vaccine given?

The Pfizer vaccine is given via injection into a muscle in your upper arm. You will receive 2 injections, given at least 21 days apart. You will be invited to your second appointment during your first injection.

What should I tell my doctor or nurse before receiving the vaccine?

You should let your vaccinator know if any of the following applies to you, before you have your vaccine:

  • If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction or breathing problems after any other vaccine injection or after you were given the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the past.
  • If you are suffering from a severe illness with a high fever however, a mild fever or upper airway infection, like a cold, are not reasons to delay vaccination.
  • If you have a weakened immune system, such as due to HIV infection, or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
  • If you have a bleeding problem, bruise easily or use a medicine to inhibit blood clotting
  • If you are using, have recently used or might use any other medicines or have recently received any other vaccine.

Who should not receive the Pfizer vaccine?

If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any of the active substances or ingredients in the vaccine, you must not have it. Your nurse or doctor will go through all the safety checks with you, but please ask if you are concerned.

Signs of an allergic reaction may include itchy skin rash, shortness of breath and swelling of the face or tongue. Contact your doctor or healthcare professional immediately or go to the nearest hospital right away if you have an allergic reaction.

What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor or pharmacist, doctor or nurse for advice before you receive this vaccine.

Can I drive or use machinery after receiving my vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine has no or negligible influence on the ability to drive and use machines. However, some of the side effects mentioned above may temporarily affect your ability to drive or use machines. If you feel unwell, you should not undertake these tasks.

Visit the GOV.uk website for more information about the Pfizer vaccine.

When to speak to your doctor or nurse

You should let your doctor or nurse know if any of the following applies to you, before you have your vaccine:

  • If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) after any other vaccine injection
  • If you currently have a severe infection with a high temperature (over 38°C). However, a mild fever or infection, like a cold, are not reasons to delay vaccination
  • If you have a problem with bleeding or bruising, or if you are taking a blood thinning medicine (anticoagulant)
  • If your immune system does not work properly (immunodeficiency) or you are taking medicines that weaken the immune system (such as high-dose corticosteroids, immunosuppressants or cancer medicines).
  • If you are taking, have recently taken or might take, any other medicines or vaccines.

What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, think you may be pregnant, or are planning to have a baby please tell your doctor or nurse. They can answer any questions you may have and discuss whether you can be given the vaccine.

Covid-19 vaccine ingredients

The Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca does not contain any components of animal origin.

A full list of ingredients for the qualitative and quantitative composition of the vaccine can be found here.