Updated guidance on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine

General guidance

The benefits of vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine far outweigh the risk of adverse events for patients 30 years of age and over and those who have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease.

If you have not yet received your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

If you are aged 18-30 without underlying health conditions you will be offered an alternative COVID-19 vaccine if available. (Note that people may still make an informed choice to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to receive earlier protection if they so wish.)

If you have received your first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

All those who have received a first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be offered a second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID019 vaccine, irrespective of age, with the exception of an extremely low number of patients with a history of certain health conditions.

These health conditions are: a history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, acquired or hereditary thrombophilia, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia or antiphospholipid syndrome should only be considered when the potential benefit outweighs any potential risks.

Patients who have experienced major venous and arterial thrombosis occurring with thrombocytopenia following vaccination with any COVID-19 vaccine should not receive a second dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

What should I look out for after vaccination?

Although serious side effects are very rare, if you experience any of the following from around 4 days to 4 weeks after vaccination you should seek medical advice urgently:

  • a new, severe headache which is not helped by usual painkillers or is getting worse
  • a headache which seems worse when lying down or bending over or
  • an unusual headache that may be accompanied by blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, difficulty with your speech, weakness, drowsiness or seizures
  • new, unexplained pinprick bruising or bleeding
  • shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain
Further information 

Further information on COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting is available here.

Published: Apr 12, 2021