Skip to main content

We use strictly necessary cookies to make our site work. We would also like to set optional cookies (analytical, functional and YouTube) to enhance and improve our service. You can opt-out of these cookies. By clicking “Accept All Cookies” you can agree to the use of all cookies.

Cookies Statement and Privacy Statement

Stay at home – level 5 restrictions are in place nationwide. Get the latest advice about COVID-19


AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

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 it takes 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.

Protection from COVID-19

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.

There is some new evidence to show that the vaccines may reduce you spreading COVID-19 to other people but more research is needed.

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.

Read more about how you can protect yourself from COVID-19

If you take immunosuppressive medicines

If you have a weakened immune system, your COVID-19 vaccine may not work as well for you. But there is no extra risk in getting it.

Read more about weak immune systems and COVID-19

Testing and evidence

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been tested on people aged 18 and older.

In clinical trials, the vaccine reduced the risk of people:

  • getting COVID-19 by 60%
  • being hospitalised with severe COVID-19 by 100%

People aged 70 and older

People aged 70 and older had the same immunity as other age groups. But the AstraZeneca vaccine was tested on very few older people. Clinical trials are ongoing to show how well it works in more people aged 70 and older. Until we have those results, the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be given to people aged 70 years and older. They will get the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines instead.

New evidence

New evidence from England shows that the vaccine reduced the risk of people getting COVID-19 by:

  • 76% after the first dose for up to 12 weeks
  • 82% when the second dose was given 12 weeks later

New evidence from Scotland shows:

  • the risk of being admitted to hospital with severe COVID-19 is reduced by 94%, 4 to 5 weeks after 1 dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine

Use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine restarted

Use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been restarted after a short pause.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. Go to your appointment if this vaccine is offered to you.

Read more about the restart of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccinations

This content was fact checked by vaccine experts working in Ireland

More information

COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca – European Medicines Agency

Last updated: 29 March 2021 at 12pm