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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Vaccine information for COVID-19

Types of vaccine

In the UK and Jersey, there are two types of COVID-19 vaccine that are currently being used:

  • Pfizer BioNtech vaccine
  • AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine

Both require two doses to provide the best protection. Both have been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials.

We have limited supplies of the vaccine and so you'll be offered the vaccine that is available. You'll be advised of the vaccine at your appointment.

We would strongly recommend that you have the vaccine that is offered to you. You can choose to wait, however we recommend you receive the vaccine as soon as is possible to keep you safe.

In Jersey, we will be aligning our vaccination programme roll-out with the UK.

Both vaccines have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulator Agency (MRHA) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Protection and immunity

The COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to reduce the chance of you suffering from the disease. Each vaccine has been tested in more than 20,000 people in several different countries and shown to be safe.

Both vaccines offer considerable protection after a single dose, at least in the short term. The second dose completes the course and is particularly important for longer term protection.

After one dose of a vaccine, the level of protection from COVID-19 is:

  • Pfizer about 89%
  • AstraZeneca 73%

It takes a few weeks for your body to build up protection from the vaccine. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective. You should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection.

Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

Even after receiving your vaccine, you will still need to follow public health guidance to protect yourself and others.

You must continue to:

  • practice physical distancing
  • wear a face mask
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently

Protecting yourself and others from coronavirus

Passing on the virus

Evidence on whether the COVID-19 vaccination reduces the chance of passing on the virus isn't clear. Most vaccines reduce the overall risk of infection, but some vaccinated people may get mild or asymptomatic infection and can still pass the virus on.

It's highly likely that any infection in a vaccinated person will be less severe and that viral shedding will be shortened.

Dose intervals

The decision to increase the interval doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from 21 days to 10 to 12 weeks was made on 6 January by Competent Authority Ministers upon recommendation by the Deputy Medical of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, and the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). It has also been endorsed by the UK medicines regulator, the Medicines and a Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The MHRA authorisation requires that the Oxford/AstraZeneca and the Pfizer COVID vaccines should be administered in two doses.

Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine interval

The AstraZeneca authorisation enables the second dose to be administered between 4 and 12 weeks after the first dose.

Pfizer vaccine interval

Pfizer authorisation states that the second dose should be given at least 3 weeks after the first dose.

Prioritising the first dose

Throughout this pandemic we have always been guided by the latest scientific advice. Having studied evidence on both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines the JCVI has advised that we should prioritise giving as many people in at-risk groups their first dose as soon as possible.

This is the best way to protect as many people as possible.

Evidence shows that one dose of either vaccine provides a high calculated level of protection from COVID-19.

It will also have the greatest impact on reducing mortality, severe disease and hospitalisations and in protecting health services.

AstraZenca vaccine and blood clotting

The JCVI issued a statement on 7 April 2021 on reports of a very rare condition involving blood clots and unusual bleeding with the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine for younger people, under the age of 30.

JVCI statement on the AstraZeneca vaccine on gov.uk

The JCVI has advised it is preferable for people under 30 to have a vaccine other than AstraZeneca.

What is the concern?

Although this condition remains extremely rare there appears to be a higher risk in people who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Around 4 people develop this condition for every million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine doses given.

This is seen slightly more often in younger people and tends to occur between 4 days and 2 weeks following vaccination.

This condition can also occur naturally, and clotting problems are a common complication of COVID-19 infection. An increased risk has not yet been seen after other COVID-19 vaccines but is being carefully monitored.

What you need to do

The benefits of vaccination in protecting you against the serious consequences of COVID-19 outweigh any risk of this rare condition. You should also complete your course with the same vaccine you had for the first dose.

Over 30 years of age or with underlying medical conditions

You should still receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines.

Healthy person 18 to 29 years of age

We have reviewed our vaccine schedule for Islanders under 30 years old and have incorporated this into our planning. You will be offered the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine (due to arrive in Jersey in April).

Second dose

If you have already had your first dose of AstraZeneca without suffering serious side affects you should complete the course. You'll receive a text message or email with your second dose appointment.

What to look for after having the vaccine

You should seek medical advice from your GP immediately if you have:

  • leg swelling
  • shortness of breath
  • pain in your chest or abdomen
  • bruising beyond the vaccination site
  • neurological symptoms such as prolonged headache or confusion, especially if occurring within 14 days of vaccination

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

The COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK and Jersey have been shown to be effective and to have a good safety profile. The early COVID-19 vaccines do not contain organisms that can multiply in the body, so they cannot infect an unborn baby in the womb. 

You should consider the following if you're pregnant or planning a pregnancy:

  • if you're pregnant you should not be vaccinated unless you're at high risk. You can be vaccinated after your pregnancy is over
  • if you have had the first dose and then become pregnant you should delay the second dose until after the pregnancy is over (unless you're at-risk)
  • if you are pregnant but think you are at high risk, you should discuss having or completing vaccination with your doctor or nurse

Although the vaccine has not been tested in pregnancy, you may decide that the known risks from COVID-19 are so clear that you wish to go ahead with vaccination. There is no advice to avoid pregnancy after COVID-19 vaccination.

Vaccine testing and pregnancy

The vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnancy, so until more information is available, those who are pregnant should not routinely have this vaccine.

Non-clinical evidence is needed before any clinical studies in pregnancy can start, and before that, it is usual to not recommend routine vaccination during pregnancy.

Evidence from non-clinical studies of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has been received and reviewed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This evidence was also reviewed by World Health Organisation and the regulatory bodies in the USA, Canada and Europe and has raised no concerns about safety in pregnancy.

Non-clinical studies of the Astra- Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine have raised no concerns.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recognised that the potential benefits of vaccination are particularly important for some pregnant women. This includes those who are at very high risk of catching the infection or those with clinical conditions that put them at high risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19.

In these circumstances, you should discuss vaccination with your doctor or nurse, and you may feel that it is better to go ahead and receive the protection from the vaccine.

Breastfeeding

There's no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding or on the breastfed infant. Despite this, COVID-19 vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant, and the benefits of breast-feeding are well known.

The JCVI has recommended that the vaccine can be received whilst breastfeeding. This is in line with recommendations in the USA and from the World Health Organisation.

Side effects

Like all medicines, vaccines can sometimes cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them. Although you may get some protection from the first dose, having the second dose will give you the best protection against the virus.

Very common side effects include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1 to 2 days after the vaccine
  • feeling tired
  • headache
  • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms

Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for 2 to 3 days, a high temperature is unusual and may mean you have COVID-19 or another infection. An uncommon side effect is the swelling of the glands. These symptoms normally last less than a week.

You should rest and take the normal dose of paracetamol (follow the advice in the packaging). Do not exceed the normal dose.

If your symptoms get worse

If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, contact your GP or healthcare professional. If you do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about your vaccination (show them your vaccination card) so that they can assess you properly.

You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card scheme. The Yellow Card scheme is the UK system for collecting information on suspected adverse drug reactions to medicines.

You can't catch COVID-19 from the vaccine

You can't catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but it's possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.

Although a mild fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other COVID-19 symptoms or your fever lasts longer:

  1. isolate at home
  2. call the coronavirus helpline and arrange to have a test

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • new continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell

Easy read

Vaccine guidance English Easy Read (PDF)

Second dose of vaccine English Easy Read (PDF)

What to expect after the vaccine English Easy Read (PDF)

Why you need to wait English Easy Read (PDF)

Vaccine and pregnancy English Easy Read (PDF)

Translated information

Island-wide leaflet

Island-wide leaflet Portuguese (PDF)

Island-wide leaflet Polish (PDF)

Island-wide leaflet Romanian (PDF)

Island-wide leaflet Bulgarian (PDF)

Island-wide leaflet French (PDF)

Guidance for adults

Vaccine guidance for adults English (PDF)

Vaccine guidance for adults Portuguese (PDF)

Vaccine guidance for adults Polish (PDF)

Vaccine guidance for adults Romanian (PDF)

Vaccine guidance for adults Bulgarian (PDF)

What to expect after the vaccine

What to expect after the vaccine English (PDF)

What to expect after the vaccine Portuguese (PDF)

What to expect after the vaccine Polish (PDF)

What to expect  after the vaccine Romanian (PDF)

What to expect after the vaccine Bulgarian (PDF)

Why you need to wait for the vaccine

Why you need to wait English (PDF)

Why you need to wait Portuguese (PDF)

Why you need to wait Polish (PDF)

Why you need to wait Romanian (PDF)

Why you need to wait Bulgarian (PDF)

Healthcare workers

Healthcare workers English (PDF)

Healthcare workers Portuguese (PDF)

Healthcare workers Polish (PDF)

Healthcare workers Romanian (PDF)

Healthcare workers Bulgarian (PDF)

Pregnancy

Vaccine and pregnancy English (PDF)

Vaccine and pregnancy Portuguese (PDF)

Vaccine and pregnancy Polish (PDF)

Vaccine and pregnancy Romanian (PDF)

Vaccine and pregnancy Bulgarian (PDF)

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