COVID19: General guidelines on AstraZeneca vaccine

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With Cyprus’ vaccination roll-out against COVID-19 boosted with the arrival of AstraZeneca, allowing it to start vaccinating the over 70s, the Health Ministry has issued some general guidelines.

The first batch of 7,200 AstraZeneca vaccines arrived on Monday adding to the weekly 6,800 doses from Pfizer and 2,400 from Moderna.

Cyprus is to receive 69,000 vaccines from AstraZeneca this month is out with the next batch expected on 17 February.

As confirmed by the Health Ministry, unlike several EU counterparts, Cyprus will use the AstraZeneca vaccine on the general population including those aged 65 and above.

The decision was taken upon the advice of the Advisory Scientific Committee on COVID-19 which suggested administration of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to all age groups above 18.

This is also the recommendation of the European Medicine Agency.

  • The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the risk of a person contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
  • Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, and it takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to build up protection. Even after vaccination, the person must continue to apply the usual practices of personal hygiene and protection, such as frequent hand washing, keeping social distance and using a face mask.
  • Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having been vaccinated, but this should lessen the severity of any infection.
  • The administration of two (2) doses of the vaccine will reduce the possibility of an individual becoming seriously ill or dying.
  • The vaccine cannot cause COVID-19 disease in the person being vaccinated.
  • Before leaving the Vaccination Centre after vaccination with the 1st dose of the vaccine, make sure you get an appointment for the 2nd dose of the vaccine.
  • For better protection, you need to get vaccinated with both (2) doses of the vaccine.
  • After getting vaccinated with the 1st dose of the vaccine you will be given a COVID-19 Vaccination Card which you will need to present at your appointment for the 2nd dose.

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects.

Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them.

Even if you do have symptoms after the 1st dose, you still need to have the 2nd dose which will give you better protection against the virus.

Common side effects of COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine include:

  • pain/swelling/erythema/warmth/tenderness at the injection site
  • chills
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
  • muscle or joint pain
  • fever

These symptoms normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, call your GP.

You can report suspected side effects of vaccines for COVID-19 through the National Adverse Reaction Reporting System of Pharmaceutical Services, Ministry of Health, by submitting the Yellow Card:

  • Online submission using the website https://www.kitrinikarta.gov.cy
  • Printed submission of the Yellow card which is available at the site of Pharmaceutical Services: https://www.moh.gov.cy/phs
  • By post to the Pharmacovigilance Department, Pharmaceutical Services, Ministry of Health CY-1475, Nicosia, phone 22608607
  • By Fax at +357 22608669.