Use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been restarted after a temporary pause.
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. Go to your appointment if this vaccine is offered to you.
More than 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have been used in Ireland so far, mainly in frontline healthcare workers. We can already see a significant reduction in cases of COVID-19 in this group since the start of the vaccination programme.
Why we paused using the AstraZeneca vaccine
There were a small number of very rare cases of blood clots in people who got the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in other European countries.
These very rare blood clots were associated with rare thromboembolic events (blood clotting), including some complicated by thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count).
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) needed to investigate these reports. The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) in Ireland recommended pausing use of the vaccine until the results of the EMA investigation were available.
How we know the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe
The EMA reviewed the evidence and found the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe.
Overall, the number of blood clots reported after vaccination was lower than that expected in the general population. This evidence came from studies done before and after the rollout of the vaccine.
The EMA has confirmed that there is no increase in the overall risk of blood clots after the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
The EMA noted there were very rare cases of unusual blood clots along with low levels of blood platelets after vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. While it was not possible to confirm or exclude a link to the vaccine, the EMA recommended that people are made aware of the symptoms of these very rare events.
If you get an appointment for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Go to your appointment. The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective.
Evidence shows that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks of side effects, including the very rare cases of unusual blood clots.
Common side effects after the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Some side effects are more common and to be expected after the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. They usually occur within the first couple of days of the vaccine.
Symptoms of very rare blood clots
The risk of very rare blood clots is less than 1 in 100,000. But you should still know the symptoms to look out for.
Get urgent medical help if you get any of these symptoms after the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine:
- pain in the chest or stomach
- leg swelling
- severe or worsening headache or blurred vision
- persistent bleeding, under the skin where there was no previous injury
- multiple small bruises, reddish or purplish spots, or blood blisters under the skin
Very rare blood clots were usually reported within 14 days of getting the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Watch out for these symptoms in the weeks after your vaccination.
No need to take aspirin
You do not need to take aspirin before or after vaccination. These are very rare blood clotting conditions and aspirin would not have a beneficial effect.
People who may be more concerned about blood clots
Understandably, some groups of people may be more concerned about blood clots.
But it is safe to get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, even if you:
- recently had a blood clot
- are on blood-thinning treatments
- have a condition or are on treatment that may make you more likely to get a blood clot
- are taking the contraceptive pill, using the contraceptive patch or using the contraceptive ring (Nuvaring)
Like everyone who gets the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, you should be aware of the symptoms of very rare blood clots. Get urgent medical help if you experience any of them.
There is no increase in the overall risk of blood clots after the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Last updated: 8 April 2021 at 12.05pm