Boris Johnson gets first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine as countries resume use

Boris Johnson gets first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine as countries resume use
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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated after receiving his first dose of the AstraZeneca inoculation as health experts attempt to promote its safety following concerns over blood clots. 

Johnson spoke with reporters after getting the vaccine at London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital, where he was treated in intensive care almost a year ago after contracting COVID-19. 

"I cannot recommend it too highly,” Johnson said of the coronavirus vaccine, adding that he “did not feel a thing” when he got the shot. 


“Everybody, when you do get your notification to go for a jab please go and get it,” he said. “It is the best thing for you, best thing for your family and for everybody else.” 

Johnson’s shot came a day after the European Union’s top drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), said that the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed in partnership with Oxford University, was safe and effective, adding that blood clots were only found in a small percentage of people who received the vaccine and that the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the potential risks. 

The U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) also defended the AstraZeneca inoculation Thursday, announcing in a statement that it did not find evidence that the shot was responsible for blood clots in several people who received it in some European countries. 


The British prime minister reiterated these messages Friday, telling reporters, "Don't just listen to me, listen to all the scientists, listen to what the European Union Medicines Agency had to say, to what the MHRA has said.” 

“The risk is COVID, this is a great thing to do,” he said of getting vaccinated. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also vocalized confidence in the vaccine on Friday, telling reporters at a press briefing, “I would get vaccinated with AstraZeneca," according to Reuters

Several countries, including Germany, Portugal and Italy, had paused the distribution of the AstraZeneca shot following reports of blood clots, though several countries have resumed vaccination campaigns after the reports of confidence from drug regulatory agencies. 

While the U.K. has experienced rising infection rates in recent months, due in part to the presence of more transmissible variants of COVID-19, the country on Friday recorded a record high of 660,000 vaccine doses injected, according to The New York Times

Johnson earlier this month revealed that he has changed his eating habits since recovering from COVID-19, explaining that he believed his weight contributed to his hospital stay last year. 

Johnson’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, told reporters that the prime minister had lost 14 pounds and that he was taking weight loss “very seriously.” 

Health experts have said that individuals with certain medical conditions, including obesity, can be at increased risk for complications and severe illness from COVID-19.