FILE PHOTO: Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Community pharmacy teams have being asked to support a safety study of the new Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to ensure any side effects are quickly recognised and acted upon.

The Drug Safety Research Unit (DSRU) in Southampton is monitoring the safety of the vaccine by proactively collecting near ‘real-time’ data from patients receiving the vaccine.

The DSRU will enrol at least 10,000 patients who will be contacted at regular intervals after receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and asked whether they are experiencing any possible side effects.

The study is one element of a series of measures to help protect the public.

Commenting on the start of the study, Professor Saad Shakir, DSRU director, said: “Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, healthcare assistants and all other health professionals already understand only too well the impact Covid-19 has on patients and their loved-ones, so we hope they will also understand how crucial it is that we monitor new vaccines and treatments so they are as safe and effective as possible.

“We are urging all healthcare professionals to gently encourage patients having the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to sign up for our study. For patients, it’s only a few short questionnaires. But their contribution can play a huge part in our collective efforts to protect people from such a devastating disease.”

Pharmacy team members can sign up for the study themselves if they have had the Oxford/AZ vaccine.

Additionally, pharmacy teams can encourage their patients who have received the Oxford/AZ vaccine to participate in the study.

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