The AstraZeneca vaccine works by activating the immune system against COVID-19. The vaccine is made up of another virus (adenovirus) which has been modified in such a way as to create antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, so that in the future, when a vaccinated person comes into contact with the virus, the body is prepared to fight against it. The AstraZeneca vaccine does not contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus and it can in no way cause the COVID-19 disease.
How is AstraZeneca administered?
The AstraZeneca vaccine is administered in two doses (0.5 ml each), that are given in the muscle of the upper arm. The second dose is given 4 to 12 weeks after the first dose.
How efficactive is the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19?
Combined results from four clinical trials conducted in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa, show that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective against COVID-19.
In the clinical trials, the number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases was 59.5%, which was lower in the group of people that were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. This means that the efficacy of the vaccine is around 60%. Furthermore, research results show that the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine on preventing severe forms of the disease is even higher – at around 100%.
What are the side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine?
Like all other vaccines, the AstraZeneca vaccine too can cause side effects in some people. Most of the side effects are mild and go away in a few days.
The most frequently reported side effects include: pain and increased sensitivity in the injection site, feeling tired, chills, fever, and muscle pain. 1 in 10 vaccinated people report such side effects.
In very rare cases, allergic reactions may appear after vaccination. Like any other vaccine, AstraZeneca should be administered under the supervision of health professionals, and with the emergency equipment for the treatment of allergic reactions.
Should I get the vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?
All people aged 18 or older are recommended to get the vaccine, even if they have already had COVID-19. The data from clinical trials show that the vaccine does not have any additional side effects in people who have had COVID-19.
What should I do if I do not feel well at the time of vaccination?
If you do not feel well at the time of vaccination, it is recommended that you wait to get the vaccine until you have fully recovered. You should postpone your vaccination appointment if you are in self-isolation, waiting for your COVID-19 result, or if you are not sure whether you are well.
Does the vaccine protect me from infection and spreading the virus?
Two doses of the vaccine will significantly reduce the chances of getting severely ill from COVID-19. It is yet unknown whether the vaccine will protect you from infection or spreading the virus. Therefore, it is essential to adhere to preventive measures to protect others.
To protect yourself and the people around you, after vaccination, you should:
keep physical distance
wear a mask
wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
Should pregnant and breastfeeding women get vaccinated?
Data on the effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine in pregnant women and breast-feeding women are limited. Thus, the decision whether to get the vaccine or not should be taken in close consultation with the doctor after assessing the risks and benefits of the vaccine.
Is blood clotting a side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine?
Medicines regulatory authorities in some European countries have received reports of blood clots in some people who had taken the AstraZeneca vaccine. However, the European Medication Agency (EMA), in the preliminary review of data on these cases, concluded that there is no correlation between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, and that those cases were not caused by the vaccine. According to EMA, which is the highest regulatory authority for medicinal products in the European Union, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine continue to outweigh the risks or side effects that may appear.