09/04/2021 - Safety of the AstraZeneca Vaccination

For our population the benefits of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine outweigh any risks for the vast majority and you should still book your COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.

Recently, there have been reports of a very rare condition involving blood clots and unusual bleeding after vaccination. Although this condition remains extremely rare there appears to be a higher risk in people shortly after the first dose of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine.

Around 4 people develop this condition for every million doses of AZ vaccine doses given. This is seen slightly more often in younger people and tends to occur between 4 days and 2 weeks following vaccination. This is being carefully reviewed but the risk factors for this condition are not yet clear.

This condition can also occur naturally, and clotting problems are a common complication of COVID-19 infection. An increased risk has not yet been seen after other COVID-19 vaccines but is being carefully monitored.

Following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), we will be offering people under 30 who have not yet had their first COVID-19 vaccination, a choice of vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have an alternative vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

If you are under 30 years of age and in cohort 2 (health and social care worker), Cohort 4 (Clinically Extremely Vulnerable CEV) or cohort 6 (Clinically vulnerable, a carer or live with an immunocompromised person) then please contact us and inform reception who will add you to a list we can contact when alternative vaccines become available.

If you are under 30 and not in the above cohorts please do NOT contact the practice until you are called for your vaccine but you may find the link and the attached information useful to help you decide.

This leaflet (link) from Public Health England provides more information about the benefits and risks of the AZ COVID-19 vaccination.

Also the PDF attached produced by Cambridge University looks at risk benefits. You have to consider relative risk which is a difficult concept.

What are my options:

  1. Remain unvaccinated and at risk of contracting Covid , becoming very unwell or being left with Long Covid but accepting this risk which is small of becoming very ill. (See chart for your own risk of this)
  2. Accepting the vaccination when called and being protected against serious illness and Long Covid symptoms but accepting the risk. (See chart for your own risk of this.)

If you have already had a first dose of AZ vaccine without suffering a blood clot as a side effect, you should have your second dose. This includes people aged 18 to 29 years who are health and social care workers and unpaid carers.

The benefits of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine outweigh any risks for the vast majority of people and you should still book your COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.

Published: Apr 9, 2021

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