The AstraZeneca vaccine protects against COVID-19. It is available for people aged 18 years and over who cannot receive the Pfizer vaccine, and for people who would like a different option. It will no longer be available in New Zealand from 4 September 2022.
On this page, you can find the following information:
- What is the AstraZeneca vaccine?
- Who can get the AstraZeneca vaccine?
- Who should NOT get the AstraZeneca vaccine?
- Can I get the AstraZeneca vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
- How is the AstraZeneca vaccine given?
- How many doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine do you need?
- How does the AstraZeneca vaccine work?
- How effective is the AstraZeneca vaccine?
- How can I get the AstraZeneca vaccine?
- Can I 'mix and match' COVID-19 vaccines?
- What are the side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine?
|AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be available in New Zealand after 4 September 2022|
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is being phased out. The last day people can get AstraZeneca is 4 September 2022, it will no longer be available after that.
Staying up to date with the recommended COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to protect you from the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation or death from COVID-19.
The AstraZeneca vaccine protects against COVID-19. The vaccine stimulates your body’s immune system to produce antibodies to help fight the virus that causes COVID-19.
Vaccination means that if you do become infected you are far less likely to become seriously ill or spread the virus to others.
None of the ingredients in this vaccine can cause COVID-19.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, the AstraZeneca vaccine is available for people aged 18 and older who cannot receive the Pfizer vaccine, and for people who would like a different option.
The Pfizer vaccine remains the preferred COVID-19 vaccine for use in Aotearoa New Zealand. Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will protect you against the symptoms of COVID-19. Both vaccines are free.
You should not receive AstraZeneca if you:
- have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to this vaccine or its ingredients
- have had a major blood clot occurring at the same time as having low levels of platelets (thrombocytopenia) after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine
- have had capillary leak syndrome (also known as CLS, a condition causing fluid leakage from small blood vessels).
If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, check with your health care provider about the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
There is limited data on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in pregnant or breastfeeding people, so Pfizer remains the preferred choice of vaccine for this group.
Your health care provider will discuss with you whether you can be given the vaccine. Read more about COVID-19 and pregnancy.
The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is injected into a muscle (usually in the upper arm). You will need to stay for at least 15 minutes so a health care worker can look out for you and make sure you are okay. Once the health care worker is confident that you’re fine and you are feeling okay, you can leave and carry on with your day.
The number of doses you need and the gap between the doses will depend on whether you are getting your primary vaccine series or your booster doses and whether you have a weakened immune system or not. Read more about the recommended timing gaps for different COVID-19 vaccines.
The AstraZeneca vaccine uses a harmless, weakened animal virus (called a viral vector) that contains the genetic code for the coronavirus spike protein. Once this enters the body, it tells your cells to make copies of the spike protein. Your immune cells then recognise the spike protein as a threat and begin building an immune response against it.
The AstraZeneca vaccine does not contain any live virus, and it cannot give you COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines are already the most well-studied vaccines ever made. In the clinical trials, the AstraZeneca vaccine gave 81% protection against the symptoms of COVID-19. It also shows effectiveness against hospital admission of at least 80% after a single dose. For the best protection, you need 2 doses.
You can book your appointment to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at BookMyVaccine.nz. This must be done on or before 4 September 2022 as it won't be available after then.
If you select AstraZeneca, the site will show a list of vaccination centres where AstraZeneca can be given. Not all sites are equipped to deliver this vaccine.
If you’re unable to book online, you can call the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am–8pm, 7 days a week). They will make the booking for you and answer any questions. Interpreter services are available if you need them.
It is preferable not to mix and match COVID-19 vaccines. If you get AstraZeneca for the first injection, then you should also get it (and not the Pfizer vaccine) for the second injection to complete your vaccination course.
Like all vaccines, the AstraZeneca vaccine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.
Common, mild side effects
You might experience some mild side effects 1–2 days after getting your vaccination – most do not last long. Some side effects may temporarily affect your ability to drive or use machinery.
|Side effects||What should I do?|
|Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.|
Rare, serious side effects
Serious allergic reactions can occur but are extremely rare. New Zealand vaccinators are trained to manage these. Most people with a history of anaphylaxis to other medicines, vaccines, foods and venom can be safely vaccinated. Signs of an allergic reaction include skin rash, itching, swelling of your lips, face and mouth, or difficulty breathing.
A trained healthcare professional will observe you for at least 15 minutes after being given the AstraZeneca vaccine. If these symptoms develop after that, go straight to the emergency department at your nearest hospital.
Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)
A serious side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine is blood clots with low levels of platelets, called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). This is very rare and has occurred in approximately 1 in 100,000 people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine. Read more about thrombosis thrombocytopenia syndrome.
Capillary leak syndrome (CLS)
Capillary leak syndrome (CLS) is a very rare, serious condition that causes fluid leakage from small blood vessels (capillaries). The symptoms of this condition include rapid swelling of the arms and legs, sudden weight gain and feeling faint. You must not have the AstraZeneca vaccine if you have previously experienced capillary leak syndrome.
You must seek medical attention immediately if you have the following symptoms in the days after vaccination, which may occur together with feeling faint (due to low blood pressure):
- rapid swelling of the arms and legs
- sudden weight gain.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare immune disorder that causes nerve inflammation. Symptoms may include pain, numbness and muscle weakness in the arms and legs which may move to the chest and face. Read more about Guillain-Barré syndrome.
COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet
COVID-19: AstraZeneca vaccines Ministry of Health, NZ
What you need to know about the AstraZeneca vaccine Ministry of Health, NZ