AstraZeneca Option Offered to Those Who Can’t Receive Pfizer Vaccine

In this Sunday, March 21, 2021, file photo, is a vial of of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Luton, England.  (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)

Israeli health services are set to offer a coronavirus AstraZeneca vaccine for people who for medical reasons have not been able to receive the Pfizer version, which has been the country’s main vaccine, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

Starting Thursday, those who are prevented from getting the Pfizer shot, due to having experienced side effects from it, or due to other circumstances, can have the AstraZeneca option, based on a medical referral.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is formulated with a different technology than Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, which are both messenger RNA vaccines. AstraZeneca uses a weakened animal virus as a viral vector, and it contains the coronavirus spike protein so that the body’s cells will be able to recognize it and produce antibodies.

It has received emergency approval from the European Medicines Agency and other health bodies, though not from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration.

Like mRNA Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, AstraZeneca requires two doses.