I'll happily go and have my second AstraZeneca vaccine - even though I'm under 30

Despite the regulator’s ruling that under-30s should be offered an alternative to the Oxford jab, Rochelle Barrand, 27, explains why she’s looking forward to her second appointment already

The JCVI has ruled that under-30s should be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

I remember the day I got the text from my doctor inviting me to book my Covid-19 jab. I was thrilled.

I am 27, but due to my asthma I am on one of the priority lists. I booked my appointment at the next available opportunity, one week later on March 17.

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When that day came, there were stories circulating around the potential link between the Oxford vaccine and blood clots, but I pushed them out of my head.

When I attended my appointment, the nurse told me that I would be having the AstraZeneca vaccine. Admittedly those same reports did flash through my mind again – but I didn’t let the fear of an unproven possibility stop me from having a jab I knew had been proven would stop me from dying from this truly horrendous virus.

In the week that followed, I did become poorly with side effects of the vaccine which the nurse had said I may experience – fever, headache, achy limbs, nausea. It was a very unpleasant week to say the least, but I must stress that I had no symptoms of a blood clot and I knew feeling ill was worth it because now I have some protection against coronavirus.

Just over three weeks after I had my first jab, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced that they are recommending that, due to the blood clot risk, anyone under the age of 30 should be given the Pfzier or the Moderna vaccine where available.

‘But what about people like me who fall into that age bracket and have already had their first jab’, I thought, especially because trials are still ongoing looking in to whether or not that the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines can be mixed.

I quickly came to realise the JCVI have also said that if you have had your first AstraZeneca jab and haven’t had a problem with a blood clot then it is safe for you to go ahead and have your second.

That gave me reassurance because, ultimately, if there were any concerns about the impact of the vaccine on the population as a whole then the experts would have removed it from use very, very quickly.

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I am obviously still waiting to get another invitation from my doctor to invite me for my second jab, but when it comes through I will be making an appointment.

I know that there is a very small element of risk of blood clots with the vaccine, but when you look at the figures of the amount of people who have had the jab against the people who have suffered blood clots, the risk really is incredibly small – 0.0001 per cent in fact. So, on balance that’s a risk I’m happy to take.

I have previously taken other medication in my adult life that technically carries a blood clot risk with it – but again this is extremely small – because I needed the health benefits that medication provided.

In my mind, we all need the benefits that the Oxford vaccine provides against this potentially fatal virus - which is sadly continuing to prove every day just how deadly it can be – as a matter of urgency. I certainly believe I need it more than any other medication I’ve taken in my adult life.

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