AstraZeneca booster: The ‘rare’ time you will be offered jab – when to speak to your GP

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AstraZeneca has been provisionally approved as the booster vaccine for millions of people in Australia. The vaccine, along with Pfizer and Moderna, has also been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use as a booster jab.

However, despite being developed in the UK by the Oxford University and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, is not being used widely as a booster vaccine in the UK.

This is because the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended only using the two mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) where possible.

People under the age of 40 have already been advised not to take AstraZeneca due to its link in the development of blood clots.

There is also evidence to show the side-effects from AstraZeneca may be more likely than from Pfizer or Moderna.

However, there is one “rare” time that people may be offered and even required, to take AstraZeneca as their third jab.

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) AstraZeneca will only be offered as a booster “in rare cases”.

The charity explains: “You are likely to be offered Pfizer or Moderna, as evidence shows these types of vaccines work best as a booster.

“AstraZeneca will only be offered to those who can’t have Pfizer or Moderna due to a medical reason.”

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In most cases, you will not be offered a choice of vaccine.

But, if you know you can not have Pfizer or Moderna, for example, as a result of allergies, the BHF advises talking to your GP about this matter.

Alternatively, your GP may also suggest taking AstraZeneca as a result of your medical history.

If you are able to have Pfizer and Moderna, it is safe to do so even if you received AstraZeneca for your first and second vaccine.

The BHF adds: “You are likely to be offered a dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster – evidence shows that these types of mRNA vaccines work best as boosters, even if you received a different vaccine for your first two doses.

“The JCVI reviewed data from several different vaccine combinations before making this recommendation.

“This means that even if you had AstraZeneca for your first two doses, it’s recommended that you have a different vaccine for your booster dose – either Pfizer or Moderna.

“You will only be offered the AstraZeneca booster if you can’t have Pfizer or Moderna due to medical reasons, such as an allergy or previous adverse reaction.

“More research is currently under way to look at other options for use as Covid-19 booster vaccines.”

What are some of the most common side-effects of AstraZeneca?

Side effects of any vaccine vary from person to person, and some people might not experience any side effects at all.

However, some of the most commonly recorded from the AstraZeneca vaccine include:

  • Chills
  • Shivering
  • Increased body temperature
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Myalgia
  • Malaise

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