Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine
New guidance has been issued for the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
This follows further reviews by the independent regulator, the MHRA, and the Commission for Human Medicines, of a very small number of people in the UK who have developed a rare blood-clotting condition since having the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
The MHRA and Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations have emphasised that the risk of this condition is extremely small and that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people. They have recommended that:
- Everyone who has had the AstraZeneca vaccine should still have a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, irrespective of age, unless they have had a blood clot or have an existing risk of thrombosis (blood clotting)
- People aged 30 and over or who have a health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease should still be offered the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. The benefits in protecting them against the serious consequences of COVID-19 outweigh any risk of this rare condition.
- People aged 18-29 who do not have a health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease will be offered an alternative Covid-19 vaccine where available. (This has been recommended as a precaution as people under 30 are at less risk from Covid-19 and not because they are considered to be at particular risk of developing the rare blood clot.)
- People under 30 can still choose to have the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine if this will mean they can be protected more quickly and they have been made aware of the guidance.
Please see the leaflet below that has been produced by Public Health England and the NHS to answer any questions you may have
Leaflet on COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting (EXTERNAL LINK)
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has now been approved for use and the NHS will be starting to offer this to priority groups as soon as supplies arrive.
When will a vaccine be available?
The first deliveries of the vaccine should be during w/c 7 December and the NHS is ready to start offering them as soon as they arrive to those who need them most.
Who will get a vaccine?
The vaccine will be offered to those at greatest risk from Covid19 first, starting with people living in care homes, people over 80 years old and frontline health and social care workers. This is based on the guidance from the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations which is available here. As more supplies of the vaccine or alternative vaccines become available it will be rolled out in phases to people aged between 80 and 50 and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable. People will be invited for a vaccine when it is their turn so they do not need to contact their practice or the NHS.
Where can I get a vaccine?
To start with, vaccines will only be available at hospital ‘hubs’ where the Pfizer vaccine can be stored safely. However, arrangements are also being put in place to offer vaccines from a number of different locations as more supplies and different vaccines become available. These include local vaccine services provided by GPs and pharmacists and new dedicated vaccination centres to make sure that everyone who needs a vaccine is able to get one.
We will share further information with you as it becomes available. In the meantime, there are three things people can do to help:
- Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine - we will contact you when it’s the right time to you to have yours
- Please act on your invite when it comes, and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them;
- Please continue to abide by all the social distancing and hand hygiene guidance, which will still save lives.
Leaflets (External links)