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The Most Important Things to Know About the Covid-19 AstraZeneca Vaccine!


The vaccine is indicated for individuals 55 years of age and older. At this time, people between the age of 55 to 65 years old (inclusive) living in the Fraser Health and the Vancouver Coastal Health regions can get the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccine at eligible participating community pharmacies.

*** Please note: Some European Countries stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine while looking into a small number of reports of serious blood clots after vaccination. These events, although very rare, happened primarily among women under the age of 55. Until more information is available, British Columbia has paused the use of this vaccine in younger populations.


2 doses given as 0.5mLs intramuscularly, 112 days (=16 weeks) apart (an acceptable range for administration of the second dose is 12 weeks to 4 months after the first dose).


Around 60% effective >15 days after second dose. It is important to note that no cases of severe COVID-19 (hospitalization or death) occurred in individuals who received both doses of the vaccine.

How the Vaccine Work:

The vaccine has a harmless virus as a delivery system (there is no risk of causing the actual COVID-19 infection). This virus is not the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. When a person is given the vaccine, the vector virus within the vaccine produces the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein which is a protein found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. This protein will NOT make you sick.

Throughout this process the body builds a strong immune response against the spike protein without exposing you to the virus that causes COVID-19.

Duration of immunity:

We do not know how long immunity lasts after vaccination at this point as trials are still ongoing. We need more time and data to predict how long the immunity will last.

Vaccine Possible Side Effects:

The adverse events with all four available COVID-19 vaccines are similar and it is not unusual to experience some side effects with ANY vaccine.

Side effects are typically mild to moderate and will usually go away on their own. These can include:

· Local pain, swelling, redness, or pruritus

· Systemic side effects include: fatigue, headache, myalgia, chills, arthralgia, fever, tiredness, nausea

These side effects usually disappear within two to three days, if they do occur.

Key Points to Remember:

It is important to note that all patients must wait at the clinic for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine. For those with a history of severe allergic reaction, they are required to be monitored for up to 30 minutes.

- For now, continue to follow provincial guidance on which patients and age groups are eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine

- All vaccines approved in Canada and available in B.C. are safe and effective and will help protect you against COVID-19. It is important to understand that COVID-19 vaccine safety is top priority for approving agencies such as FDA and Health Canada.

- Based on research, those who had received a vaccine were significantly less likely to become sick with COVID-19. While some people may still get COVID-19 after they have been vaccinated, all vaccines have been shown to have a high level of protection against serious illness and death.

- B.C. recommends you take the vaccine that you are offered, so you are protected as soon as possible. Getting vaccinated means that you protect your friends, family, co-workers, and close contacts from getting COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccine is one important tool in the toolbox to end the pandemic.

- The sooner people have been immunized in our community, the harder it becomes for the virus to spread. That protects us all.

- Given the serious health consequences of COVID-19, the low likelihood of a serious reaction to a vaccine is outweighed by the benefits to you and your loved ones.

For more information, please refer to for the most up-to-date information.

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