Covid vaccine side effects: What are the most common for AstraZeneca and Pfizer jabs?

BRITAIN is currently rolling out two different Covid vaccines across the country with millions having now had a jab.

Pfizer/BioNTech's jab was first to be approved in the UK shortly followed by Oxford/AstraZeneca's vaccine.

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They both require two doses to provide longer-lasting protection, with a maximum interval of 12 weeks between them for each vaccine.

Vaccines have now been offered to all the over-70s, frontline healthcare staff and people on the shielding list.

All those over 70 who haven't been jabbed yet are being urged to contact the NHS so they can attend a mass vaccine centre, hospital or pharmacy.

It was revealed today that jabs could be given to the over 30s by April as Britain is set to acquire another 10 million doses.

Millions of Brits have vaccinations every year, whether it's to protect against disease you could catch on holiday to helping prevent flu.

So far over 23 million Brits have had a first dose of one of the two vaccines with over 1.3 million having had a second.

While it is natural to question a new vaccine, experts told The Sun, the public can be reassured of its safety.

The evidence shows any side effects are "mild" and "rare", and are very similar to those seen with the flu jab.


Scientists at Pfizer said their extensive trials showed the vaccine is "generally well tolerated in all age groups".

Side effects can be mild and independent data monitoring reported that there were no safety concerns.

The Vaccine Knowledge Group, in partnership with Oxford University says because vaccines work by triggering your immune system to produce a reaction, you can have side effects after you receive the vaccine that feel similar to having a real infection.

They state that the most common side effect associated with the Oxford jab is arm pain, with 67 per cent of patients experiencing this.

This is followed by chills, fever, joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue and headaches.

Speaking to The Sun, Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of said that side effects from the Pfizer vaccine have so far been "mild".

She said that all vaccines cause side effects in some people – but that this is largely because they are designed to boost your immune system.

Dr Sarah said: "When your immune system is learning to fight off an invader, lots of white blood cells rush to where they’re needed and produce natural chemicals.

"That means most vaccines, including the annual flu vaccine, can lead to mild redness, tenderness of swelling around the area you had the injection.

"In the Covid-19 vaccine trials, all the side effects seen so far have been mild and very similar to those seen with other vaccines like the yearly flu vaccine."


Brits have today been reassured that the Oxford jab is safe amid fears its behind fatal blood clots.

Denmark and Iceland have suspended use of the jab as a precautionary measure.

Five other European countries have stopped using doses from a specific batch under investigation. 

But the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is confident in the Oxford-made vaccine, and is urging people to still accept it.

It comes after a small number of blood clot conditons were reported in people who had recently received the vaccine.

One patient died in Denmark 10 days after getting the jab.

The MHRA said blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon.

They added: "More than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca vaccine have now been administered across the UK.

“Reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population."



A report from Pfizer says that the worst side effects were fatigue and headaches – but only after the second dose.

Just four per cent of people reported fatigue and two per cent reported a headache.

Similar to jabs such as the flu, some people reported pain in the site the injection was administered.

Dr Sarah added that if you do get these symptoms then they will "settle down within a few days".

Chief medical officer at BioNTech, Özlem Türeci said that these are "common reactions you would have with any vaccination".

While there were few side effects in those who trialled the jab, there were fewer and milder side effects in older adults.


In the Pfizer trials around 20,000 people were given the vaccine and just eight caught coronavirus – with one becoming seriously ill.

This is in contrast to 164 people who fell ill when taking the placebo drug – with nine becoming severely ill.

It's not known why some people didn't respond positively to the vaccine – but a success rate of 95 per cent is similar to other vaccines.

The Oxford vaccine was trialled on 23,000 people in the UK, Brazil and South Africa.

AstraZeneca also run further trials with 40,000 people in the USA, Argentina, Chile, Columbia and Peru.

Experts at Oxford stated that interim results from the UK and Brazil trials showed that the vaccine can prevent 70.4 per cent of Covid-19 cases.

They add: "This was calculated across two different groups of people, who received two different dose regimens.

"The vaccine was shown to prevent 73 per cent of cases in individuals with at least one underlying health condition."

The vaccine has also been shown to produce similar immune responses in older adults when compared with young, healthy individuals.

The Oxford jab is given in two doses like the Pfizer jab, the second is given 4-12 weeks after the first dose.


The trial tests carried out by Pfizer were designed for symptomatic Covid-19 and confirmed infections.

It's hard for experts to know whether or not the vaccine prevents transmission – one person passing the virus to another.

Pfizer states that it still carrying out studies on this and it will release information as soon as it becomes available.

Some vaccines can make disease worse through a process called antibody-enhanced disease.

This hasn't been seen in the Pfizer vaccine, the Oxford jab or other vaccine offerings and it hasn't occurred naturally – which sometimes happens with other viruses.

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