AstraZeneca vaccine side effects: 16 reported side effects – from most common to uncommon

Vaccine row: EU chief claims bloc's jab rate is 'same' as UK

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The blood clot controversy surrounding AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine seemed to be subsiding on the continent but now that looks to change. Germany has decided to bar people under the age of 60 from getting the jab following reports of rare blood clots in the brains of 31 people who received the first dose of the vaccine. The decision flies in the face of recommendations from European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization, both of which have concluded there is no causal link between the two.

That is not to say the AstraZeneca vaccine does not engender side effects at all.

Like all medicines, this vaccine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Public Health England (PHE) has compiled a comprehensive list of the possible side effects of the vaccine.

Based on clinical trial data, PHE has ranked the side effects from very common to uncommon.

According to the data, very common (may affect more than one in 10 people) include:

  • 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 one in 10 people)

  • Swelling, redness or a lump at the injection site
  • Fever
  • Being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills.

Uncommon (may affect up to one in 100 people):

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash.

“In clinical studies with the vaccine, most side effects were mild to moderate in nature and resolved within a few days with some still present a week after vaccination,” notes PHE.

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If side effects such as pain and/or fever are troublesome, there are things you can do to relieve symptoms.

“You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to,” says the NHS.

You should contact your GP surgery if you have a headache for more than four days after your vaccination or get bruising somewhere other than where you had your vaccination, advises the health body.

It is worth noting that if you have a high temperature that lasts longer than two days, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste you may have coronavirus, it adds.

How to respond to coronavirus symptoms

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), get a test as soon as possible.

You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.

How is the vaccine rollout being prioritised?

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.

In England, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. More centres are opening all the time.

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

It is currently being prioritised based on risk and age.

The Government is aiming to give everyone a chance to get at least the first dose of a vaccine by the end of summer.

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