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European leaders receive AstraZeneca COVID vaccine after blood clot scare

Left: UK PM Boris Johnson receives his first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Right: French PM Jean Castex receives his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Left: UK PM Boris Johnson receives his first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. Right: French PM Jean Castex receives his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Copyright Left: AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool/Right: Thomas Coex, Pool via AP
Copyright Left: AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool/Right: Thomas Coex, Pool via AP
By Euronews with AFP
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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French Prime Minister Jean Castex both received their first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on Friday.

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Leaders in the United Kingdom and France received their first doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University coronavirus vaccine after several European countries restarted vaccinations following a pause.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson received his first dose of the vaccine on Friday at St.Thomas' Hospital in London.

The UK did not halt vaccinations but several other European countries including France, Germany and Italy did following reports of serious blood clots in 25 people.

Some European leaders now appear to want to rebuild confidence in the vaccine, with many stating they would get it themselves.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday as the country restarted vaccinations following a pause.

The country's health authority recommended restarting vaccinations but said it should be authorised only for people aged 55 and up due to continued investigations of reports of blood clots.

Denmark, Sweden and Norway said they would wait before restarting AstraZeneca vaccines while Finland said they would halt vaccinations due to reported rare blood clot cases in the country.

Castex jumped the line to show confidence in the vaccine even though vaccination is only open to people over the age of 75 and those with serious health conditions in addition to healthcare workers.

He said he wanted "to show my fellow citizens that vaccination is the way out of this crisis and that we can do it in complete safety," he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said she would get the AstraZeneca vaccine when it was her turn.

"Yes I would get vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine," she said at a press conference. "I would like to wait for my turn to come, but I absolutely would."

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said he too would get the AZ vaccine after the country restarted vaccinations on Friday.

"I haven't made a reservation yet, but my age group is among those eligible to receive the vaccine, and yes, I will do the AstraZeneca," he told reporters in Rome.

"My son got it the day before yesterday in England, so there is absolutely no doubt."

Many leaders have publicly received a coronavirus vaccine to encourage people to get it when it is their turn.

Hungary's foreign minister Péter Szijjártó also was vaccinated on Friday, but with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine authorised there.

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