Cumann na Daoine

A community based organisation in Youghal, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Temporary deferral of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® Briefing- Q and A

Why has the use of AstraZeneca Vaccine been temporarily deferred?

The delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine is being temporarily deferred as a precaution.

The National Immunisation advisory committee (NIAC) have recommended to temporarily defer administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® after receiving a new safety alert received late on 13th March (from Norway). NIAC are waiting to receive further information from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Until then the use of AstraZeneca vaccine will be temporarily deferred for the week commencing the 14th March 2021.

The alert originated from the Norwegian Medicines Agency following four new reports of serious rare thromboembolic event, including some complicated by thrombocytopenia in younger adults after vaccination with COVID 19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

The EMA is already investigating a number of reports of thromboembolic events from the AstraZeneca Vaccine and a report is expected over the coming days.

EMA information from 12th March was that the number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than the number seen in the general population.

As of 10 March 2021, 30 cases of thromboembolic events had been reported among close to 5 million people vaccinated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® in the European Economic Area.

 This vaccine along with the others, is a very important tool in our fight against COVID-19 disease.

What should I do if I have an appointment today or in the next few days to receive COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® vaccine?

You should not attend your appointment for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® until you receive further contact from the HSE about the resumption of the programme.

Any appointments for a first or second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can still go ahead as they are not included in this safety alert.

 What about my second dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® vaccine?

  • There are no appointments scheduled for second doses at the present time.
  • Further information will be provided about second doses as soon as it is available.

What should I do if I have already received COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® vaccine?

Please remember that the events are very rare and we do not know if they are caused by the vaccine.

We know that side effects of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® can occur within the first couple of days of the vaccine.

After the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, more than 1 in 10 people may experience:

  • feeling tired
  • tenderness, bruising, pain, redness or itching in the arm where they had the vaccine injection
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • nausea, diarrhoea or vomiting
  • fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above)

 More than one in 100 people may have redness or swelling where they had the injection.


  • It’s common to develop a fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above) after any vaccination.
  • This usually happens within 2 days (48 hours) of getting the vaccine. It usually goes away within 2 days.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, take paracetamol or ibuprofen following the instructions on the box or leaflet.

What if I still feel unwell more than 3 days after my vaccine?

You should consult a doctor or out-of-hours medical service if you have received the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® and;

  • feel increasingly unwell more than three days after vaccination and/or
  • If you notice larger or smaller blue spots in the skin (purpuric, non-blanching rash, skin haemorrhages)

These rare events that have been reported have usually occurred within 14 days of the vaccine.


  • COVID-19 is a serious disease which has caused significant disease and death across the world including Ireland.
  • COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and authorised for use after rigorous testing and have a favourable safety profile.
  • More than 100 000 doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® have been used in Ireland so far, mainly in Frontline healthcare workers and we can already see the significant reduction in cases of COVID-19 disease in this group after the vaccine programme.