How the vaccine works
The Vaxzevria vaccine works by strengthening the body’s ability to defend itself against infection with coronavirus (COVID-19).
Prior to its authorisation, Vaxzevria was tested in major clinical trials with more than 11,000 voluntary trial subjects, and the vaccine demonstrated 59% efficacy against coronavirus after the second vaccine dose. In other words, there were 59% fewer COVID-19 cases among the trial subjects given the real vaccine than among those given a placebo.
Vaccinated people can still get ill if they are exposed to virus, but they will usually have milder symptoms than if they had not been vaccinated.
The vaccines’ benefits for the entire population are fewer hospital admissions, fewer severe disease cases and fewer deaths. The higher the infection rate, the greater the impact of vaccinating people, in overall terms.
To be fully vaccinated with Vaxzevria, two vaccine doses are given about four to 12 weeks apart.
Common side effects to expect after vaccination
All vaccines can cause side effects; the vaccine from AstraZeneca is no exception.
It is expected that more than half of those vaccinated will get mild side effects lasting for a few days such as pain and tenderness where the injection was given, tiredness and headache.
About one in three are likely to develop a mild fever.
Mild and moderate side effects, that pass within days, are common after vaccination and usually completely harmless. So, if you develop a mild fever or your muscles ache, this is a sign that your immune system is reacting. There is no need to contact your doctor about this. Further information about the mild and moderate side effects is provided in our information sheet and in the vaccine’s summary of product characteristics at www.ema.europa.eu.
If, on the other hand, you experience serious symptoms after vaccination, you should contact a doctor. Examples are allergic reactions like shortness of breath, swelling of the face or on the neck, and rash.
Please read our information sheet or the product information for details on all the known side effects (see links below).
Information sheet on Vaxzevria from the Danish Medicines Agency
Denmark has not used the Vaxzevria vaccine since 11 March 2021 when the Danish Health Authority put vaccination with Vaxzevria on hold (read the announcement on SST.dk).
On 14 April 2021, the Danish Health Authority decided to continue the vaccine rollout without the COVID-19 Vaxzevria vaccine (read the announcement on SST.dk). Since 20 May 2021, it has been possible for Danes to choose vaccination with Vaxzevria under the optional scheme.
Details about the general vaccination programme and the voluntary optional scheme appear from the Danish Health Authority’s guideline on COVID-19 vaccination (in Danish only).