My experience with the COVID-19 AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine

My experience with the COVID-19 AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine

Since I am a nurse and work with nursing teams, I was offered the Covid-19 vaccine very quickly. It was almost as though we had heard nothing at all and then all of a sudden, they were holding drop-in clinics for staff at our local hospital. I had already decided that I wanted the vaccine as I had kept up to date about the science behind it and I felt that it was just like the flu vaccine.

IF you’ve not yet been for your Covid vaccination, you might be wondering what it’s like.

This is my experience.

After checking in with my name and date of birth, I was directed to one of seven vaccination stations, (there was also a GP area with emergency equipment as a precaution).

The nurse who gave me my vaccination was very friendly, explained what vaccine I was having, and made sure I was fit and well to have the injection.

I was given the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine

I felt a slight scratch but, before I knew it, I’d had the vaccine with no problems - and it was pain-free.

The whole process took ten minutes from start to finish and everything ran very smoothly.

I’ve only had a couple of expected mild side effects since, including a sore arm and just feeling a little out of sorts.

Three days on, I feel fine.

I’m used to having flu vaccinations, so getting the Covid vaccine felt like no big deal.

I feel lucky to have not had the virus (fingers crossed) — and I have wondered how my body would deal with the virus if I was to test positive because of my underlying health condition — but I always felt ready to have the vaccination once I was called up.

It feels like another step towards things returning to some sort of normality.

If you still have doubts about the vaccine, I suggest talking to a health professional, GP, or even someone else who has had the vaccine.

It’s good to talk about any worries, and there are people on hand on the day as well to answer any queries.

What you need to know about AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine

The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has issued interim recommendations for use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (AZD1222).

Should pregnant women be vaccinated?

While pregnancy puts women at higher risk of severe COVID-19, very little data are available to assess vaccine safety in pregnancy.

Pregnant women may receive the vaccine if the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks.

For this reason, pregnant women at high risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (e.g. health workers) or who have comorbidities that add to their risk of severe disease, maybe vaccinated in consultation with their health care provider.

Who is the vaccine not recommended for?

People with a history of a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it.

The vaccine is not recommended for persons younger than 18 years of age pending the results of further studies.

What’s the recommended dosage?

The recommended dosage is two doses given intramuscularly (0.5ml each) with an interval of 8 to 12 weeks.

Additional research is needed to understand longer-term potential protection after a single dose.

Is it safe?

Two versions of the vaccine – produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India – have been listed for emergency use by WHO. When the vaccine underwent SAGE consideration, it had undergone review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The EMA has thoroughly assessed the data on the quality, safety, and efficacy of the vaccine and has recommended granting conditional marketing authorization for people aged 18 and above.

The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, a group of experts that provides independent and authoritative guidance to the WHO on the topic of safe vaccine use, receives and assesses reports of suspected safety events of potentially international impact.

How efficacious is the vaccine?

The AZD1222 vaccine against COVID-19 has an efficacy of 63.09% against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Longer dose intervals within the 8 to 12 weeks range are associated with greater vaccine efficacy.

Does it work against new variants?

SAGE has reviewed all available data on the performance of the vaccine in the settings of variants of concern. SAGE currently recommends the use of AZD1222 vaccine according to the WHO Prioritization Roadmap, even if virus variants are present in a country. Countries should assess the risks and benefits taking into consideration their epidemiological situation.

Preliminary findings highlight the urgent need for a coordinated approach for surveillance and evaluation of variants and their potential impact on vaccine effectiveness. As new data become available, WHO will update recommendations accordingly.

Does it prevent infection and transmission?

No substantive data are available related to the impact of AZD1222 on the transmission or viral shedding.

In the meantime, we must maintain and strengthen public health measures that work: masking, physical distancing, handwashing, respiratory and cough hygiene, avoiding crowds, and ensuring good ventilation.

Source: WHO
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