Angela Merkel to get AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday

German chancellor's choice of vaccine is strong public endorsement for under-fire jab

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures with a bandaged finger as she leaves after giving a statement, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Berlin, Germany, April 13, 2021. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/Pool/File Photo

Angela Merkel will receive her first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on Friday.

Another high-profile European leader, EU Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen, on Thursday tweeted her pleasure at being inoculated.

Ms Von Der Leyen had the Pfizer vaccine but the decision of Germany's long-serving chancellor to use AstraZeneca's is a strong public endorsement for the under-fire jab.

A stream of countries limited its use to certain cohorts or banned it completely following a global blood clotting furore.

In Germany only those over 60 can be inoculated with AstraZeneca – a criterion the 66-year-old Ms Merkel meets.

On Wednesday, Denmark announced it would ban the vaccine's deployment permanently.

The Scandinavian country's decision drew a trenchant rebuke on Thursday from Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at the UK's University of Oxford and one of those behind its formulation. He warned many Danish lives could be lost as a result.

"The first most important issue is these events are extremely rare, but if you get Covid you will have a very much higher risk of getting a clotting problem. The clotting problem is trivial compared with the risks of getting Covid,” he said.

Taking the opposite approach to the Danes is Cyprus. Its entire cabinet was inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday in an attempt to win over a wavering Cypriot public.

More on coronavirus

London Book Fair forced online despite UK bookshops reopening

Emirates starts trialling Iata's coronavirus travel passport on select flights

Coronavirus - live updates

EDITOR'S PICKS