Your AstraZeneca Questions Answered – Covid 19 Vaccines in Cork
As the Covid 19 vaccine rollout continues across Ireland, we thought that it would be helpful to produce a short series of articles about the vaccines which are currently authorised for use in Cork and nationwide in Ireland. In this article, we shine a spotlight on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Continue reading to discover how the AstraZeneca Covid 19 vaccine works in terms of immunity, safety, doses, side effects and whether it’s safe for pregnant women.
Why are vaccines so important?
Simply put, vaccinations are the most effective method we have to counteract infectious diseases. Vaccinations prepare our body’s natural defences (immune system) to identify and protect us against specific viruses.
After a temporary pause, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been restarted in Ireland. The vaccine has been tested comprehensively and has been found to be both safe and effective.
‘The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective’ – Ireland’s Health Services Executive (HSE)
The HSE, Irish government and health authorities are encouraging members of the public to go to their appointment, when the vaccine is offered.
To read more about the restart of the AstraZeneca vaccines in Ireland – visit the HSE website (opens in a new tab).
Doses – how many doses of AstraZeneca are needed?
- 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are required in total.
- It takes 3 weeks after receiving the first dose for it to start to work.
- The second dose will be given twelve weeks after the first vaccine.
- For the best protection, it takes 15 days from having the second dose.
Immunity – how does the AstraZeneca vaccine protect against Covid?
Vaccines teach our immune systems how to protect us against specific viruses. It is much safer for our immune systems to learn now to protect us after having the vaccine, than by catching the virus.
After receiving both doses of the vaccine, most people will be protected from Covid 19. Although there is a small chance that Covid can be caught, even after having the vaccine, being vaccinated reduces serious symptoms.
Most people will be protected from Covid-19 after they have had both doses of a vaccine.
Spread – do vaccinated people spread the virus?
New evidence shows that the vaccines may reduce the spread of Covid-19 to others, however more research is needed before it is a conclusive fact.
Safety – is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe?
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been developed in accordance with international safety standards. In clinical trials, AstraZeneca has been tested with many thousands of people.
To read more about the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine – visit the HSE website (opens in a new tab).
Effectiveness – what did clinical trials show about the AZ vaccine?
In clinical trials, the AZ vaccine reduced the risk of:
- 60% reduction in getting Covid-19.
- 100% reductions in people being hospitalised by Covid-19.
Side effects – what are common side effects?
Like any medicine, vaccines can cause side effects. Most side effects are mild to moderate and they do not usually last long. It is important to note that not everyone experiences side effects.
After getting the AstraZeneca vaccine, 1 in 10 people (or more) may experience:
- Tenderness, bruising or itching in the arm where the vaccine was injected.
- Muscle pain.
- Joint pain.
- Nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting.
- Fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher).
Common side effects, such as those above, are more common after the first dose of the vaccine than the second.
To read more about rare side effects, affecting 1 in 1000 people (or more), – visit the HSE website (opens in a new tab).
Pregnancy – is the vaccine safe if you are pregnant?
There is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women. Whereas, there is strong evidence that being vaccinated reduces the risk of becoming very unwell. With that in mind, the HSE and health authorities are advising pregnant women to get vaccinated when it is offered to them.
‘Current information shows that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine does not have any negative effects on babies in the womb’ – Ireland’s Health Services Executive (HSE)
Breastfeeding – is it safe to breastfeed if you have been vaccinated?
The HSE currently advise that there is no known reason to avoid breastfeeding if you are vaccinated.
Your local Irwin’s Pharmacy provide healthcare support to people in Cork
For any advice about Covid-19, vaccinations or any other health concerns, call Irwin’s Pharmacy on 021 430 4165. Your friendly local pharmacists are here to provide healthcare to local people in Cork.