AstraZeneca Vaccine Guidance

The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh the risks for most people. Healthy adults under 40, with no health conditions may be offered an alternative vaccine. Find out more

What you need to know 

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is a vaccine used for preventing COVID 19, caused by a virus called coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is given to adults aged 18 years and older.

The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. For people aged 40 or over and those with other health conditions, the benefits of being vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk of clotting problems.

For people under 40 without other health conditions, it's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine instead of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK. The MHRA is carrying out a detailed review of reports of an extremely rare blood clotting problem affecting a small number of people who had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

It's not yet clear why it affects some people.

The following side effects may occur with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca:

Very common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)

  • tenderness, pain, warmth, itching or bruising where the injection is given
  • generally feeling unwell
  • feeling tired (fatigue)
  • chills or feeling feverish
  • headache
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • joint pain or muscle ache

Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)

  • swelling, redness or a lump at the injection site
  • fever (≥38°C)
  • being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea
  • pain in legs or arms
  • flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills

Some people have reported a sudden feeling of cold with shivering/shaking accompanied by a rise in temperature, possibly with sweating, headache (including migraine-like headaches), nausea, muscle aches and feeling unwell, starting within a day of having the vaccine and usually lasting for a day or two.

If your fever is high and lasts longer than two or three days, or you have other persistent symptoms, this might not be due to side effects of the vaccine and you should follow appropriate advice according to your symptoms.

Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)

  • sleepiness or feeling dizzy
  • decreased appetite
  • abdominal pain
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • excessive sweating, itchy skin, rash or hives

Very rare (may affect up to 1 in 10,000 people)

  • Following widespread use of the vaccine there have been extremely rare reports of blood clots in combination with low level of blood platelets. When these blood clots do occur, they may be in unusual or atypical locations (e.g. brain, liver, bowel, spleen).
  • serious nerve inflammation, which may cause paralysis and difficulty breathing (Guillain-Barré syndrome [GBS])

Click here to read Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine patient leaflet on GOV.UK

To book your vaccination 

If you have concerns, contact your GP to discuss these before you have your vaccination


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