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Learn More About the COVID-19 Vaccine

AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet,
as at 1 March 2021

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is an adenovirus-vectored vaccine.* This means that the company took a virus and genetically modified it to avoid any possible disease consequences in people. This modified virus carries a portion of the COVID-19 coronavirus called the “spike protein.” When the vaccine is delivered into human cells, it triggers an immune response against the spike protein, producing antibodies and memory cells that will be able to recognize the virus that causes COVID-19.  

It is recommended that all vaccinated individuals receive 2 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The recommended schedule is two doses (0.5 ml) with an interval of 8-12 weeks.

No information is available on the interchangeability of doses of this vaccine with other COVID-19 vaccines at this time. It is currently recommended that the same product should be used for both doses. Recommendations may be updated as further information becomes available.

There should be a minimum interval of 14 days between administration of this vaccine and any other vaccine against other conditions. This recommendation may be amended.

The following groups of persons may get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Persons aged 18 years and above in who the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is not contraindicated should receive the vaccine.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the vaccine for use in persons aged 65 years and older.
  • Persons living with HIV who are part of a group recommended for vaccination may be vaccinated. Discussion with a healthcare provider should take place before vaccination.
  • Immunocompromised persons who are part of a group recommended for vaccination may be vaccinated. Discussion with a healthcare provider should take place before vaccination.
  • Persons with autoimmune conditions who are part of a group recommended for vaccination may be vaccinated. Discussion with a healthcare provider should take place before vaccination.
  • Vaccination may be offered regardless of a person’s history of symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19. Thus, persons with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection in the preceding 6 months may delay vaccination until near the end of this period.

The following groups of persons should not get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine:  

  • Persons below 18 years of age
  • Persons who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Persons who have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction (even if it was not severe) to any component of the vaccine
  • Persons who have  had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction (even if it was not severe) after getting the first dose of the vaccine. An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).

Persons with acute PCR-confirmed COVID-19, including those with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection between doses, should not be vaccinated until after they have recovered from acute illness and the criteria for discontinuation of isolation have been met.

* The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was developed using a virus that normally infects chimpanzees, which was genetically modified it to avoid any possible disease consequences in people.

Click here for additional clinical details on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

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