Side effects of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination


We have all seen the headlines around the use of the AstraZeneca Oxford Covid-19 vaccine and the concerns it causes blood clots. Understandably, this news has worried some people and over the past few weeks, Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s Emergency Department has seen a rise of people attending due to those concerns.

Last month, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organisation all stressed there was no evidence to suggest the blood clots have been caused by the vaccine. And although no effective medicine or vaccine is without risk, the benefits of receiving the vaccination continue to outweigh the risks. At the time of the review only 37 people out of 17 million vaccinated (that’s 0.0002%) had experienced blood clots.

Dr Anthony Kearns, Head of Department for Emergency Medicine, said: “I understand why people might have become worried by the news, but it’s important to put it in to context. The risk of developing a blood clot from the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is lower than the risk of developing one if someone is overweight or obese, taking certain hormone or contraception medications or in fact develops the virus itself.”

People are being encouraged to step forward when called to be vaccinated, as it is the most effective way of controlling the spread of the virus. Most side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week. These include a sore arm, feeling tired and achy, having a mild headache and feeling nauseas or vomiting.

Self-care such as taking painkillers, such as paracetamol, resting and keeping hydrated, can help to alleviate the symptoms. People may get a high temperature or feel hot or shivery one to two days after the vaccination. But if a high temperature that lasts longer than two days, there is a new, continuous cough or loss or change to sense of smell or taste, it maybe Covid-19. Please arrange to be tested and isolate until your result is confirmed.

However, you must call 111 immediately if you get any of the following symptoms starting from around 4 days to 4 weeks after being vaccinated:

  • a severe headache that is not relieved with painkillers or is getting worse
  • a headache that feels worse when you lie down or bend over
  • a headache that’s unusual for you and occurs with blurred vision, feeling or being sick, problems speaking, weakness, drowsiness or seizures (fits)
  • a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin
  • shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal (tummy) pain


The safety of our patients and colleagues working in our Emergency Department is our priority and so we are asking the public to call NHS111 First if health care is needed. The NHS 111 service can book an appointment with the most appropriate service, often reducing the time waiting to be seen. Everyone will benefit if we can give urgent and emergency care to the people who need it the most.

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