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German president receives first dose of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

April 01, 2021
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday received the first dose of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine in a hospital in Berlin, according to a statement from the president's office. — File courtesy photo
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday received the first dose of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine in a hospital in Berlin, according to a statement from the president's office. — File courtesy photo



BERLIN — German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday received the first dose of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine in a hospital in Berlin, according to a statement from the president's office.

“I trust the vaccines authorized in Germany,” Steinmeier, 65, said in the statement.

“Vaccinating is the decisive step on the path out of the pandemic. Use the opportunities available. Join in!” he added.

On Tuesday, Germany’s independent vaccine expert panel said the AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn’t routinely be given to under-60s because of a rise in reported cases of unusual blood clots in the days after vaccination.

The German government followed the recommendation and said the vaccine would be prioritized for people age 60 and older. Some regions, including Berlin, then opened up vaccinations for people aged 60-70, who had previously faced a longer wait.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is 66, said this week that she would be prepared to take the AstraZeneca vaccine. But it isn’t yet clear whether and when that might happen.

Efforts to talk up the jab’s effectiveness among elderly people were undermined by 71-year-old Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who told the top-selling Bild daily he had no plans to take AstraZeneca.

“The answer to Jens Spahn’s appeal (to the elderly) is no,” Seehofer said, adding that he had nothing against AstraZeneca but didn’t want to be “patronized”.

The European Medicines Agency on Wednesday said experts probing links between AstraZeneca’s vaccine and the rare reports of clotting have found no specific risk factors, but are investigating further.

The World Health Organization has also said that the AstraZeneca shot is safe. — Agencies


April 01, 2021
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