Ghana is one of the first recipients of the Oxford – AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine Ghanaians are taking their turns to be vaccinated after the president and the first lady took their jabs to open the way. There are some important things to know about the vaccine.

This illustration picture taken in Paris on November 23, 2020 shows a syringe and a bottle reading “Covid-19 Vaccine” next to AstraZeneca company and University of Oxford logos. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP) (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

What are the side effects of the vaccine
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, this vaccine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. In clinical studies with the vaccine, most side effects were mild to moderate in nature and resolved within a few days with some still present a week after vaccination.

If side effects such as pain and/or fever are troublesome, medicines containing paracetamol can be taken.

Side effects that occurred during clinical trials with COVID 19 Vaccine AstraZeneca were as follows:

Very Common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)
tenderness, pain, warmth, itching, or bruising where the injection is given
generally feeling unwell
feeling tired (fatigue)
chills or feeling feverish
headache
feeling sick (nausea)
joint pain or muscle ache

Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)
swelling, redness or a lump at the injection site
fever
being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea
flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills

Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)
feeling dizzy
decreased appetite
abdominal pain
enlarged lymph nodes
excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash

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Not known (cannot be estimated from the available data)
severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet.

Who is the vaccine not recommended for?
People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it.

The vaccine is not recommended for persons younger than 18 years of age pending the results of further studies.

What’s the recommended dosage?
The recommended dosage is two doses given intramuscularly (0.5ml each) with an interval of 8 to 12 weeks.

Additional research is needed to understand longer-term potential protection after a single dose.

Is it safe?
While this vaccine has yet to be recommended for an Emergency Use Listing by WHO, it has undergone review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and consequently meets WHO’s criteria for SAGE consideration.

The EMA has thoroughly assessed the data on the quality, safety, and efficacy of the vaccine and has recommended granting conditional marketing authorisation for people aged 18 and above.

The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, a group of experts that provides independent and authoritative guidance to the WHO on the topic of safe vaccine use, receives and assesses reports of suspected safety events of potentially international impact.

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How efficacious is the vaccine?
The AZD1222 vaccine against COVID-19 has an efficacy of 63.09% against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Longer dose intervals within the 8 to 12 weeks range are associated with greater vaccine efficacy.

Does it work against new variants?
SAGE has reviewed all available data on the performance of the vaccine in the settings of variants of concern. SAGE currently recommends the use of AZD1222 vaccine according to the WHO Prioritization Roadmap, even if virus variants are present in a country. Countries should assess the risks and benefits taking into consideration their epidemiological situation.

Preliminary findings highlight the urgent need for a coordinated approach for surveillance and evaluation of variants and their potential impact on vaccine effectiveness. As new data become available, WHO will update recommendations accordingly.

Does it prevent infection and transmission?
No substantive data are available related to impact of AZD1222 on transmission or viral shedding.

In the meantime, we must maintain and strengthen public health measures that work: masking, physical distancing, handwashing, respiratory and cough hygiene, avoiding crowds, and ensuring good ventilation.

Source: OccupyGh.com