British prime minister Boris Johnson is all set to receive the Covid-19 jab on Friday developed by University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, a move that will positively boost the vaccine currently mired in controversy over blood clotting concerns.
“The Oxford jab is safe and the Pfizer jab is safe. The thing that isn’t safe is catching Covid, which is why it is so important that we all get our jabs as soon as our turn comes. And as it happens I am getting mine tomorrow,” said Mr Johnson in a press conference on Thursday.
The centre where he is getting immunised against coronavirus is currently using AstraZeneca’s jab for those receiving their first dose.
The 56-year-old leader urged people to take the coronavirus vaccine to ensure cases continue to go down and lockdown restrictions in England could be eased.
Mr Johnson’s comments come after the European Medicines Agency noted that the AstraZeneca vaccine is “safe and effective” with benefits outweighing risks.
In the UK, which has recorded over 4.2 million cases of coronavirus including at least 125,000 deaths, an estimated 25.7 million people have been vaccinated so far. But over the past few days, there have been concerns about the safety of the vaccine and the shortage of supply.
In fact, on Friday, the French prime minister Jean Castex is also expected to get the AstraZeneca vaccine’s first dose.
The use of AstraZeneca’s injections was temporarily suspended by several European countries but following the EMA’s announcement about its safety, several countries such as France and Germany have decided to restart its use for inoculation of its citizens.
On safety concerns, the executive director of EMA Emer Cooke emphasised that such a situation was not unexpected “when you vaccinate millions of people.”
“This is a safe and effective vaccine. Its benefits in protecting people from Covid-19, with the associated risks of death and hospitalisation, outweigh the possible risks,” she said.
Meanwhile, on the reported delay of vaccines from India, Mr Johnston said he wants to thank the Serum Institute of India (which is mass-producing the AstraZeneca vaccine) for “their heroic role in producing huge quantities of vaccine.”
The UK’s prime minister noted that there is a delay as there is very frequently in vaccine rollout programmes but noted that “the Indian government hasn’t stopped any export” of vaccines.
“There is a huge amount of work that we want to do together and this is just the beginning,” he said.
Additional reporting by agencies