Boris Johnson arrives to get his AstraZeneca vaccine as EU nations scramble to U-turn on jab blockade
BORIS Johnson has arrived at a vaccination centre to receive his first dose of the AstraZeneca jab and reassured Brits it is safe – as European nations scrambled to undergo their damaging blockade of it.
The PM will be given the shot at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, joining the more than 25 million Brits who have already been inoculated in our world-class battle against Covid.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates…Boris Johnson is pictured arriving at the hospital for his vaccination this evening[/caption]
Speaking to reporters outside the hospital, the PM said: “I did not feel a thing. It was very good and very quick.
“I cannot reccomend it more highly. When you get your notification please go and get your jab.
Reassuring Brits that the Astrazeneca jab was safe, he added: “Don’t just listen to me, listen to all the scientists and what the European Medicines Agency have to say.”
He was joined by France’s prime minister Jean Castex and Slovenia’s leader Janez Jansa, who both received the AstraZeneca vaccine today to try and rebuild confidence in it on the continent.
The PM insisted there was no reason to worry about scare stories from the EU and told Brits: “The Oxford jab is safe and the Pfizer jab is safe.
“The thing that isn’t safe is catching Covid, which is why it’s so important that we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes.
“Get that jab when your turn comes. Let’s get the jab done.”
It comes as:
- The UK broke the Covid vaccine record today with more than 660,000 jabs doled out
- Covid deaths have plunged 42 per cent in a week with 101 fatalities reported today
- Don’t bet on holidays to EU, warns Prof Lockdown – we MUST keep South Africa variant out of UK
- Covid cases still rising in 124 parts of England – is your area on the hotspot list?
- Brits set to be packed back into football stadiums and theatres from June 21 with proof of a negative test or Covid jab
It came as the NHS broke a new Covid vaccine record with more than 660,000 jabs doled out in a single day.
A total of 660,276 doses were administered nationwide on Thursday, latest government figures revealed tonight.
That includes 528,260 first jabs and 132,016 second doses.
The UK’s vaccine rollout continues to go from strength to strength, with all over 50s now being told to book their jabs online.
Over 26 million Brits have now received their first jab, while over 2 million have been given their second dose.
By the weekend, one in two in this country are expected to have been protected against the virus as the immunisation blitz ramps up.
The PM pressed ahead and got his AZ jab even though a delay to a key shipment from India is set to hit UK vaccine supplies next month.
No 10 are holding secret talks with New Delhi to try and get the deliveries of AstraZeneca back on track.
The Indian government is said to have blocked five million jabs that were set to vaccinate Britain’s under-50s – but intergovernmental talks are now “underway” to resolve the issue.
A Whitehall source said there was a “constructive dialogue underway to work through issues” with counterparts in New Delhi.
Boris has insisted the supply hiccough won’t affect his roadmap for freeing the UK from lockdown restrictions by June 21.
In contrast to Britain’s success, European nations were today scrambling to undo the damage to their own snail-paced jabs rollouts by the temporary block on the AZ jab.
Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Slovenia have all announced they’ll immediately begin using the shot again.
Ireland is set to follow that decision today while Sweden, Denmark, Portugal and Bulgaria are yet to make their decisions.
It comes after the European Medicines Agency gave the jab the green light across Europe, after 20 states across the continent paused its rollout over blood clot fears.
Emer Cooke, executive director of the EMA, said their “clear scientific conclusion” is that the vaccine is “safe and effective”.
She said: “Its benefits in protecting people from Covid-19, with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation, outweigh the possible risks.
“The committee also concluded that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events, or blood clots.”
The World Health Organisation also recommended countries keep using the AstraZeneca jab.
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A statement said: “At this time, WHO considers that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks and recommends that vaccinations continue.”
British ministers have have stressed the jab is safe and there’s no extra risk of blood clots as a result.
Scientists have even pointed out there’s a higher risk of developing one from catching Covid itself.
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