German Chancellor Angela Merkel received her first jab of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, her spokesman wrote on Twitter.
“I am happy that I received the first vaccination with AstraZeneca,” the Twitter post quoted 66-year-old Merkel as saying.
“Vaccinations are the key to overcoming the pandemic,” she added in the quote.
Germany’s vaccine regulator has recommended limiting the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to those aged over 60, citing risks of a rare blood clotting condition.
Questions over the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as another viral vector one made by Johnson & Johnson threaten to undermine public confidence in the low-cost doses, which authorities had been banking on in the fight against a global pandemic that has claimed over 3 million lives worldwide.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz also received a first jab of AstraZeneca’s vaccine earlier on Friday.
“I have always said I would get vaccinated when it is my turn,” the 62-year-old politician told journalists before receiving his shot. “Today is the day.”
On Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, a former minister in Merkel’s government, received a dose of the vaccine made by BioNTech and Pfizer.