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EN
  • Arabic - عربي
  • Chinese (traditional) - 中國傳統
  • Chinese (simplified) - 中国简化
  • English
  • Khmer - ភាសាខ្មែរ
  • Nepali - नेपाली
  • Pashto - پښتو
  • Persian - فارسى
  • Spanish - español
  • Swahili - Kiswahili
  • Vietnamese - tiếng việt
What are you waiting for?

FACT

The AstraZeneca vaccine uses a deactivated common cold virus to help our bodies learn to fight COVID-19.

FACT

The AstraZeneca vaccine uses a deactivated common cold virus to help our bodies learn to fight COVID-19.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is a viral vector vaccine that is approved for use in Australia for people aged 18 years and over. It has been administered to hundreds of millions of people across more than 100 countries.2 3

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-off company, Vaccitech.4

The vaccine uses a harmless, weakened animal virus (called a viral vector) that contains the genetic code for the coronavirus spike protein. Once this enters the body, it tells your cells to make copies of the spike protein. Your immune cells then recognise the spike protein as a threat and begin building an immune response against it. The vaccine does not contain any live virus, and it cannot give you COVID-19.1

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been distributed to more than 100 countries across six continents and has been administered to hundreds of millions of people.2 3

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approved the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia on 15 February 2021 for people 18 years and over.1 5 The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged 60 and over and for people aged 18 to 59 in outbreak areas if they do not have immediate access to the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.1

ATAGI also advises that in a large outbreak, the benefits of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca are greater than the risk of rare side effects for all age groups.6

Real-world data has uncovered an extremely rare blood clotting syndrome called Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) that is a rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine. TTS typically occurs around 4 to 30 days after vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and while extremely rare, can be very serious and can cause long term disability and death.7 Current data indicates that TTS occurs in around 2 out of every 100,000 people who receive the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. TTS appears to be far rarer following second doses, with data from the United Kingdom (UK) indicating a rate of 1.5 per million second doses.8

Of those who do get TTS, the chances of dying are still very low, with eight deaths in Australia (as of 30 September 2021). 10

Specialists have already developed specific ways to treat TTS, including using anticoagulant (anti-clotting) medication — other than heparin — intravenous immunoglobulin (an infusion of antibodies into the person’s bloodstream) and prednisolone (a type of steroid). Now that doctors know how to recognise and treat TTS early, the chance of survival is very good. 11

Two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are required for maximum protection against COVID-19. People who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until 7 to 14 days after the second dose.1 ATAGI and the TGA recommend 8 to 12 weeks (4 weeks at a minimum) between the first and second dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

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