Portcullis Surgery

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Covid-19 Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness evidence

Posted on December 10th, 2020

Given that some of our patients may be soon called and invited to have a Covid-19 vaccine Dr Beanland has prepared the following information below for you to read and inform yourselves about the vaccines available. There is more information on our website and the link is given at the end of this post.
We know some of you are worried about the vaccine and need some reassurance so we have tried to do our best by providing extensive information on our website. As more information comes in we will endeavour to update you.
Licenced and approved Covid-19 vaccines so far.
The MHRA has already approved the Pfizer vaccine and it is licenced in the UK.
It is expected that approval for the Oxford/ Astra-Zeneca vaccine should be completed in the UK soon.
Who should not have the vaccine?
If you are unwell the vaccine should not be given. In minor illness without fever/systemic features it is ok to give.
Not currently recommended in pregnant women or while breastfeeding or in anyone under the age of 16.
This is not due to data indicating a safety concern, but insufficient evidence to routinely recommend use. With this in mind, women do not routinely need to be asked about LMP and pregnancy testing prior to vaccination is not required. Termination should not be recommended after inadvertent vaccination during pregnancy, but these cases should be reported and followed up by the Public Health Immunisation Department.
Previous severe anaphylactic reaction.
People should not be vaccinated with this vaccine if they have a history of allergic reactions severe enough to require them to use an EpiPen (Adrenalin) to inject when they get a severe allergic reaction following updated advice from the MHRA.
1. Any person with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food (such as previous history of anaphylactoid reaction or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline autoinjector) should not receive the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine.
2. Resuscitation facilities should be available at all times for all vaccinations. Vaccination should only be carried out in facilities where resuscitation measures are available.
Frequently asked or possible questions published by NB Medical
Can I choose which vaccine I get?
Not currently, we will have to get what we are given based on the availability of supplies. As on December 8th only the Pfizer/BioN-Tech vaccine has approval for use in the UK and will be rolled out first. It is anticipated that the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine will be approved within a handful of weeks and will be distributed shortly after.
Should I have the vaccine if I’ve already had COVID?
Yes. Given a number of uncertainties such as poor performance of tests (or no access) and durability of immunity after true infection it is recommended that eligible people still have the vaccine. In the data from the trials of the two current vaccines there has been no safety issues with people who have had COVID receiving the vaccine and it hasn’t resulted in a bad reaction (i.e. from a ‘primed’ immune system).
Will the vaccine make me feel unwell?
You may experience mild side effects from the vaccines such as soreness at the injection site (usually the muscle of your upper arm like with the flu vaccination), headache, fatigue and mild fever. These happen in around half to three quarters of people and usually resolve in 2 days. Around 1 in 25 people with the Pfizer vaccine have side effects such as fatigue or headaches unpleasant enough to interfere with daily activities.
Pfizer vaccine adverse effects
The trial’s data monitoring committee has not reported any serious safety concerns related to the vaccine. Common side effects are as follows:
►Injection site pain >80% (usually not red/swollen)
►Fatigue >60%
►Headache >50%
►Fever with myalgia, arthralgia & chills 10-20%
►Lymphadenopathy <1%.
►Adverse effects severe enough to interfere with daily activity includes fatigue 4% and headache 2%.
Updated evidence on 10th December following two NHS workers having experienced ‘anaphylactoid reactions’ after receiving doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on the 9th December, according to case reports sent to the MHRA.
Astra-Zeneca (Oxford) vaccine
The trial’s data monitoring committee has not reported any serious safety concerns related to the vaccine. These reactions were less common in older adults (aged ≥56 years) than younger adults.
Adverse side effects are as follows:
►Injection site pain 61-88%
►Fatigue & headache 65-86% – short-lived, mild to moderate, unusual after 2nd dose
►Mild fever in 48h after 1st dose ~25% <55yo, 0%>55yo; none after 2nd dose
Will paracetamol effect the response?
If you do get troubling symptoms such as fever or pain it is ok to take paracetamol in the usual doses as required. Fever can be seen with the AstraZeneca vaccine but they report that paracetamol use does not affect the subsequent immune response
For more detailed information of the evidence so far please follow the link to our website:

Effectiveness and safety profile of COVID-19 vaccine-evidence so far

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