BERLIN (Reuters) -German Chancellor Angela Merkel received her first shot of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, her spokesman said on Twitter.
“I am happy that I received the first vaccination with AstraZeneca,” the Twitter post quoted Merkel, 66, 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 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 shots, which authorities had been counting on in the fight against a pandemic that has claimed more than 3 million lives worldwide.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz also received a first shot 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 ahead of receiving his jab. “Today is the day.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, a former minister in Merkel’s government, received a shot of the vaccine made by BioNTech and Pfizer on Thursday.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Maria SheahanEditing by Gareth Jones)