St Helena’s Front Line Workers and The Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine

The vaccination of 107 Front Line Workers in January 2021 was the start of the Island’s vaccination programme, using the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine.  The front line workers were prioritised as they are directly exposed to any potential cases of COVID-19 by working within the frontline services for arrivals to the island.

 A relatively small number of the front line workers who received their first dose of the vaccine experienced side-effects such as headaches, sweating and other flu like symptoms.  These were symptoms listed by the distributing bodies of the vaccine and all recovered fully within a few hours to three days after their vaccination.

To read more of the front line workers vaccination experiences visit: FLW Comments On vaccination

The Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine

The vaccine has been through all of the stages that any other medicine or vaccine would, which includes over 20,000 volunteers being given the vaccine in 2020 and studied for data analysis. The vaccine was approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in Dec 2020. 

How it works 

Just like any other vaccine, the AstraZeneca vaccine works by stimulating the body’s immune system, causing the body to react to the vaccine by producing its own antibodies. These antibodies then fight against the coronavirus (SARS CoV 2) which causes COVID-19, should you be exposed to it. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. 

Possible side Effects

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them.  Communities are being encouraged to receive the vaccination as the small risks associated with taking the vaccine far outweigh the risk of contracting this disease and becoming seriously ill. 

Allergic Reactions

Persons are only advised not to take the AstraZenecca vaccine if they have a known allergy to any of the following ingredients of the vaccine;

L-histidine, L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, magnesium chloride hexahydrate, polysorbate 80, ethanol, sucrose, sodium chloride, disodium edetate dehydrate, water for injections. 

Other common allergies or sensitivities are not affected by the vaccine.

For more answers to FAQ’s on the Vaccine, visit: COVID-19 Vaccination FAQ’s

There are answers to a wide range of questions and facts you may wish to know before receiving your vaccination.   


18 February 2021

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470