The MHRA is carrying out a detailed review of reports of a very rare blood clotting problem affecting a small number of people who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
The problem can also happen in people who have not been vaccinated and it's not yet clear why it affects some people.
The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from coronavirus.
For people aged 40 or over or with underlying medical conditions
Older adults (including health and social care workers aged 40 years or older), care home residents and adults of any age with certain medical conditions are at high risk of the complications of COVID-19.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the JCVI advises that you should still receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines.
If you are a healthy person aged 30 to 39 years of age
The JCVI is currently advising that it is preferable for people in this age group to have a vaccine other than AZ. You are more at risk of the serious consequences of COVID-19 and will have the most benefit from being vaccinated if you are older, male, from certain minority ethnic backgrounds, in some occupations, or are obese.
However, it is important to have the vaccination as soon as possible to protect you and to reduce the chance of passing on the virus. If you are offered the AZ vaccination you may go ahead after you have considered all the risks and benefits.
If you are a healthy younger person aged 18 to 29
Currently the JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 30 to have a vaccine other than AZ because the risk from COVID-19 infection is so low. If you are offered the AZ vaccination you may wish to go ahead after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.
If you have already had a first dose of AZ vaccine without suffering this rare side effect you should complete the course. This includes people aged 18 to 39 years who are health and social care workers, unpaid carers and family members of those who are immunosuppressed.
Call 111 immediately if you get any of these symptoms starting from around 4 days to 4 weeks after being vaccinated:
- a severe headache that is not relieved with painkillers or is getting worse
- a headache that feels worse when you lie down or bend over
- a headache that's unusual for you and occurs with blurred vision, feeling or being sick, problems speaking, weakness, drowsiness or seizures (fits)
- a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin
- shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal (tummy) pain
As the Covid-19 vaccination rollout continues, there will be some changes to the venues where vaccinations are given. Some GP-run local vaccination services are stopping so that their clinical teams can refocus on providing the regular general practice services for all their patients.
Eleven primary care networks (PCNs) will not be continuing to offer first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
- People from these areas can still get vaccinated at the large vaccination centres or at pharmacy-run vaccination sites, both of which need to be booked via the national booking service online or by calling 119.
- A number of GP-run services in Kent and Medway have now moved to booking through the national booking service - which means anyone can get their vaccine there (you don't have to be registered with a specific GP surgery)
If you have had your first dose at the sites below, you should have your second dose at the same place.
Patients registered with the practices below should use the national booking service to make their vaccination appointments.
Covering the following practices
Aylesford Medical Centre
Blackthorn Medical Practice
The College Practice
Ashford Rural PCN
Ivy Court Surgery
Canterbury South PCN
Canterbury Medical Practice
New Dover Road Surgery
University Medical Centre
Gravesend Alliance PCN
Oakfield Health Centre
The Shrubbery and Riverview Park Surgeries
Springhead Health Ltd
Gravesend Central PCN
Chalk Surgery (Lower Higham Road Surgery)
Gravesend Medical Centre Pelham Medical Practice Rochester Road Surgery
Church View Practice
Eastcourt Lane Surgery
Long Catlis Road Surgery
Maidstone Road Rainham Surgery
Matrix Medical Centre
Orchard Family Practice
Parkwood Family Practice
Wigmore Medical Centre
South Maidstone PCN
Albion Place Medical Practice
Greensands Health Centre
Mote Medical Centre
Wallis Avenue Surgery
Amherst Medical Practice
Borough Green Medical Practice
Edenbridge Medical Practice
Otford Medical Practice
South Park Medical Practice
St John's Medical Practice
Town Medical Centre
Hadlow Medical Centre
Hildenborough Medical Group
Tonbridge Medical Group
Warders Medical Centre
Woodlands Health Centre
Tunbridge Wells PCN
Abbey Court Surgery
Clanricarde Medical Centre
Grosvenor and St James Medical Centre
Lonsdale Medical Centre
Rusthall Medical Centre
Speldhurst and Greggswood Medical Group
St Andrews Medical Centre
Waterfield House Surgery
Weald PCN (previously provided by The Ridge PCN)
Malling Health Four (Staplehurst Surgery)
Marden Medical Centre
North Ridge Medical Practice
Old Parsonage Surgery
Old School Surgery
Orchard End Surgery
The Crane Surgery
Wish Valley Surgery
A small number of eligible patients may find the national booking system does not recognise them. If you have tried to book via the system but have been unsuccessful, please contact email@example.com.
Some specific groups are now advised to have an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine as an extra precaution against the very rare side effects of developing a blood clot. These groups are:
- Pregnant women
- Everyone under 30 years of age
- Those aged 30-39 who are not in a high risk group that puts them at greater risk from Covid-19. However, AstraZeneca is appropriate if there is no suitable alternative available.
Carers aged 16-18 can get vaccinated now and should have the Pfizer vaccine.
The national booking service can identify those who are eligible for a Pfizer vaccine and will only display appointments where Pfizer is available.
People outside of these groups cannot choose which vaccine to have and should book as normal.
We publish regular updates as news items on this website (usually on Thursday afternoons). Links to past copies are below: