The AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 It was the third to arrive in Spain in early February after receiving authorization from the European Commission. It has also been the one that has grabbed the most headlines in recent weeks for, among other things, producing mild side effects in a greater proportion than the other two vaccines or for the decision to use it only in people under 55 years of age.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, like any medicine, can cause side effects, although not everyone experiences them. The most common, which may affect more than 1 in 10 people, are tenderness, pain, warmth, itching, or bruising at the injection site; feeling tired (fatigue) or generally unwell, chills or feeling feverish, headache, feeling sick (nausea), joint pain or muscle pain, as can be read on the package insert.
To reduce these symptoms as much as possible, and unlike other vaccines, with AstraZeneca yes you can take paracetamol before receiving the puncture and in the following 24 hours. This is stated in the latest update of the Vaccination Strategy of the Ministry of Health: «Frequent mild local and systemic reactions are observed after vaccination. It can be used 1 gram dose of paracetamol prior to vaccination, followed by 1 gram every 6 hours during the first 24 hours, which significantly reduces local pain, low-grade fever, chills, myalgias, headache and post-vaccination discomfort, without influencing the immune response ”.
Unlike the other two vaccines, AstraZeneca does have data on the use of paracetamol prior to receiving your drug. In the case of messenger RNA vaccines, the use of prophylactic medication before receiving them, “a priori, is not indicated due to the lack of information,” they point out from the Spanish Association of Vaccination. The same organism warns that, in general, “analgesics / antipyretics should not be taken prior to vaccination since a reduction in the immune response has been observed for other vaccines.”
The Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use a new technology based on messenger RNA. The AstraZeneca, however, is a vaccine of viral vector that conveys within a harmless virus other than coronavirus the genetic information necessary for the human body to produce antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 protein S. It must be transported and stored protected from light in a refrigerator at a temperature between 2ºC and 8ºC.
The vaccination schedule in the AstraZeneca drug it is two doses of 0.5 ml with a separation of between 10 and 12 weeks.
The phase III clinical trials carried out with this vaccine, and presented for authorization in the European Medicines Agency (EMA), provided limited data in over 55s on its effectiveness, which has led Spain to recommend for the moment its use in people between 18 and 55 years of age.