A DARLINGTON GP has acknowledged that those receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine may feel more side effects to begin with, but has reassured people that this is normal.

Dr Amanda Riley, Clinical Director of the Darlington Primary Care Network, has said those experiencing some common side effects, following either versions of the Covid jab, is a natural response.

It comes as there have been claims more recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine have felt a range of common side effects, including headaches and sickness, than those receiving the Pfizer/BioNtech jab.

SEE MORE: North-East health directors reassure residents over vaccine and blood clots

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Dr Riley urged people to continue coming forward for the AstraZeneca jab following further confirmation this week that it is safe and effective, as she explained what to expect.

The Northern Echo:

She said: “Mild side effects are not uncommon with both vaccines. We advise people that feeling tired, a headache or pain at the injection site is normal. 

“Some people do experience what feels like a mild flu-like illness for a few days after the vaccine, individuals who experience a fever do not need to isolate for this unless they develop other symptoms of Covid-19.

“For most people the side effects settle with paracetamol, are short-lived and mild. 

"For those who do get side effects, this may be more prominent after the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine or the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

“These side effects are a natural response to the vaccines as the body builds up its defences to the Covid-19 virus.”

On Thursday, key EU countries restarted the roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine after the European Medicine Agency confirmed it was safe, and “not associated” with a higher risk of blood clots.

In the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care had already confirmed it had no plans to suspend the AstraZeneca jab, following advice from the World Health Organisation that there were no reasons to suspend the rollout.

The Northern Echo: The Darlington Primary Care Network site at Darlington Feethams House Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTThe Darlington Primary Care Network site at Darlington Feethams House Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

But warning those who decline the AstraZeneca vaccine that they may not be offered an alternative, Dr Riley said such requests would inevitably lead to “significant delays.”

She said: “The supply we are given of Pfizer is now limited to those who need their second dose and those under 18 who cannot have the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

"If you choose to decline the AstraZeneca vaccine you may not be offered an alternative and this will cause significant delay.

"The vaccination programme is saving lives already, we need as many people to take up the offer of the vaccine as possible to get good population coverage. 

"This will help to further protect the most vulnerable and allow us all to get back to a more normal life."

Dr Riley added that the UK has given millions of doses of the AstraZeneca jab and has not seen any concerning increase in incidence of blood clots.

She added: "The UK Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work and are acceptably safe, have said that evidence dose not suggest that the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab is linked to blood clots."