Pharmacy teams encouraged to support study of Oxford/AZ vaccine

Pharmacy teams encouraged to support study of Oxford/AZ vaccine

February 20, 2021

Pharmacy teams are 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, an Associate Department of the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Portsmouth, is now 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.

The DSRU is recruiting people from across the UK within the Phase I vaccination group, which includes all those aged over 50, health and social care workers and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

How pharmacy teams can help

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.

People can register their interest before they’re vaccinated or sign up after receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at or by calling 0800 619 6222.

Download a poster to display in your pharmacy

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.”

More information on the study and the DSRU

People can express their interest in taking part in the study before vaccination or sign up within 28 days of receiving the vaccination. All participants will be asked basic information about the vaccine and their health. They will then receive questionnaires at intervals for up to 18 months – the anticipated length of the study. A random sample of participants will also be asked questions regarding their quality of life in the months following their vaccination.

The DSRU research team will collate and study information provided by participants to explore whether any side effects seen in the study population are likely to be linked to the vaccine. The team will provide monthly updates to the pharmaceutical manufacturer and to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority. It will also provide a summary of the study results on its website and will publish results in scientific journals.

The DSRU has gathered a consortium of doctors, pharmacists and scientists from 12 UK universities and NHS trusts to help with the study. The DSRU expects to conduct several active surveillance safety studies on various COVID-19 vaccines and treatments as they are authorised for use in the general population.

DSRU is an independent and internationally renowned research unit that monitors, studies and communicates the safety and risk management of medicines.

For more information about DSRU, visit


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