Covid-19 Q and A

Covid-19 Vaccine Q & A

For the purpose of this Q & A I will focus on the AstraZeneca Vaccine as it is the one I will be administering.


Is the Covid-19 vaccine (s) safe?

All vaccines are tested for safety and effectiveness before they can be used. The HSE only uses a vaccine if it meets the required standards of safety and effectiveness.

The work to develop COVID-19 vaccines moved much faster than usual to make them available as soon as possible.

They have still gone through all the usual steps needed to develop a safe and effective vaccine. No short-cuts were taken.

COVID-19 vaccines could be developed quicker than usual because:

  • there was huge, global investment into their research
  • the high number of new cases of COVID-19 across the world meant the vaccine trials could quickly measure differences in disease risk
  • large scale manufacturing of vaccines started before the results of trials were available
  • regulators and those developing the vaccines started their conversations very early so the authorisation process could be as quick as possible

Which vaccine will I get?

Three COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in Ireland:

  • AstraZeneca vaccine
  • Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  • Moderna vaccine

All three vaccines were developed in line with international standards of safety.

They have:

  • been tested with thousands of people as part of clinical trials
  • met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness
  • been approved and licensed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)

The HSE announced last week that pharmacists will be giving the AstraZeneca Vaccine to patients aged 70 years and under.

The third COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for use in Ireland by the EMA was the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine does not contain eggs, preservatives or latex.

For a full list of ingredients, read the patient information leaflet for the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.


How does the AstraZeneca vaccine work?

It is a viral vector vaccine. Viral vector vaccines contain a weakened version of a different virus (the vector). This teaches your body how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response.

Your body then makes antibodies that help fight the infection if the COVID-19 virus enters your body in the future.

Trials have shown that the AstraZeneca vaccine is 60% efficacious. This means that 60% of people who got this vaccine in the trial were protected from COVID-19. This vaccine has been tested on people aged 18 and older.

Vaccines teach your immune system how to protect you from diseases.

It is much safer for your immune system to learn how to protect you from COVID-19 through vaccination than by catching the virus.

We do not know yet how long immunity will last. Clinical trials are ongoing to find this out.

How long does it take for the AstraZeneca Vaccine to work?

It takes 3 weeks after getting the first dose for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to start to work.

You should get your second dose 12 weeks after your first dose. It takes 15 days after getting the second dose to have the best protection.

Am I fully protected after the second dose?

After having both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, most people will be protected against the virus.

There is a small chance you might still get COVID-19 after vaccination. Even if you do get COVID-19, being vaccinated can reduce how serious your symptoms will be.

We do not know yet if being vaccinated stops you from spreading COVID-19 to other people.

The HSE, Department of Health and the World Health Organization recommends that you get your COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered to you.

Even after you are vaccinated, continue to follow public health advice on how to stop the spread of COVID-19. For example, social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing your hands properly and often.


Are there any side effects after the Covid-19 Vaccine?

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild to moderate and short-term. Not everyone gets side effects. The common side effects after all the COVID-19 vaccines happen less often in people aged 65 and older.

The common side effects after the AstraZeneca vaccine are more likely after the first dose of vaccine.

After the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, more than 1 in 10 people may experience:

  • feeling tired
  • tenderness, bruising, pain, redness or itching in the arm where theyhad the vaccine injection
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • nausea, diarrhoea or vomiting
  • fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above)

More than one in 100 people may have redness or swelling where they had the injection.

After the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, more than 1 in 1,000 people may experience:

  • reduced appetite
  • dizziness
  • sleepiness
  • sweating
  • swollen lymph glands
  • rash

Serious side effects, like a severe allergic reaction, are extremely rare.

Serious side effects after the AstraZeneca vaccine are seen in approximately 1 in 100,000 people.

It’s common to develop a fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above) after any vaccination. This usually happens within 2 days (48 hours) of getting the vaccine. It usually goes away within 2 days.

You are more likely to get a fever after the second dose of your vaccine.

If you feel uncomfortable, take paracetamol or ibuprofen following the instructions on the box or leaflet.

If your fever starts more than 2 days after you are vaccinated, or lasts longer than 2 days, you should self-isolate (stay in your room). Phone your GP to arrange a COVID-19 test.




Can I get Covid-19 from the vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines cannot give you COVID-19.

It is possible to have caught COVID-19 before getting your vaccine and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination.

If you have symptoms after the first dose of your COVID-19 vaccine, you still need to have the second dose. While you may get some protection from the first dose, having the second dose will give you the best protection against the virus.

Self-isolate and phone a GP to arrange a COVID-19 test if you have a fever which:

  • starts more than 2 days after you get your vaccine
  • lasts longer than 2 days after you get your vaccine

If you have any common symptoms of COVID-19, it’s important to self-isolate (stay in your room) and arrange a test to find out if you have COVID-19.



If you would like to read more about the AstraZeneca vaccine, click the link below;

If you would like read more about the vaccination strategy, click the link below;


Best wishes,




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