The UK has now jabbed 23,519,898 arms in the UK and this dizzying pace has provided plenty of important insights about vaccine efficacy and effects. The COVID Symptom Study app has been keeping tabs on the impact of the vaccines. More than 700,000 people have logged their jabs in the app, together with daily health reports about any after effects they might have experienced.
Drawing on their data, the team behind the app have compared Pfizer and Oxford AstraZeneca jabs performance and side effects.
Both vaccines work in very similar ways to build immune protection against SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Both vaccines also require two shots to confer maximum protection against COVID-19.
How do the side effects differ?
For the first vaccine dose, the team found that around three in ten people who had the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine reported whole body (systemic) after-effects, such as tiredness, headache or chills.
READ MORE: Coronavirus vaccine side effects: Bell’s palsy has been linked to Pfizer jab – what is it?
This compared with around one in ten people who had the Pfizer jab.
The team also reported that people tended to feel worse after their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, or after their first dose if they had previously had COVID-19.
“We saw in the trials that people get more symptoms with the first AstraZeneca dose and second Pfizer dose,” explains Dr Anna Goodman. ZOE COVID Symptom Study lead, Infectious Diseases Consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
The differing responses to the vaccines are to be expected.
Dementia symptoms: Three main signs [INSIGHT]
Covid vaccine effects: Three new effects [TIPS]
How to live longer: Coconut oil may help [ADVICE]
As the app team explains, every individual has their unique biology, so it makes sense that vaccine performance and after-effects can vary from person to person.
“Some people will make more antibodies and have increased T-cell responses after vaccination compared with others, said Professor Ellie Barnes, an expert in immunology from Oxford University.
“But at the moment, we can’t associate measured immune responses with protection. Even if you have a relatively low measure of antibodies after vaccination, you may still be fully protected.”
When will I receive the vaccine?
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.
The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine.
It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.
You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or a pharmacy that provides COVID-19 vaccinations.
You do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS.