Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to receive his first coronavirus vaccine dose today (Fri 19 March), and has urged others to get the jab when they are invited to receive it.
The Prime Minister will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, which comes as a number of European countries announce they will be resuming their use of the jab following new safety reassurances.
‘It is so important that we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes’
Numerous European countries, including France and Germany, recently stopped administering the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns over blood clots.
However, some countries have now resumed its use after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the vaccine was “safe and effective”.
France, Italy and Germany, Cyprus, Latvia and Lithuania, have all confirmed they will resume the rollout of the AstraZeneca jab on Friday, with Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands to resume use next week, but Spain said it could exclude certain groups.
However, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have said they will continue to pause the rollout of the jab for now, and said this will continue while they conduct their own independent reviews of the vaccine’s safety.
Addressing concerns over safety of the two Covid jabs currently in use in the UK, the Prime told a Downing Street press conference: “The Oxford jab is safe and the Pfizer jab is safe.
“The thing that isn’t safe is catching Covid, which is why it is so important that we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes.”
In regards to the easing of lockdown restrictions in England, Mr Johnson said: “The way to ensure this (lockdown easing) happens is to get that jab when your turn comes, so let’s get the jab done.”
The Prime Minister’s comments come as the UK’s Vaccines Taskforce said there will be a Covid vaccination supply reduction next month, due to a delay in the delivery of millions of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses from India.
An NHS letter to health leaders in England, which was published on Wednesday (17 March), said that they had been notified by the Taskforce that “there will be a significant reduction in weekly supply available from manufacturers beginning in the week commencing March 29, meaning volumes for first doses will be significantly constrained."
However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday (19 March) that second dose appointments “will not be delayed because of these supply issues, and also appointments that are already made will not be cancelled because of supply issues.”