German Chancellor Angela Merkel has received the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine today, her spokesman said on Friday.

“I am happy that I received today the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Merkel said in a message, posted on Twitter by her spokesman Steffen Seibert.

“I would like to thank everyone who is involved in the vaccination campaign – and everyone who is vaccinated. Vaccination is the key to overcoming the pandemic,” she said.

Her press team did not post a picture of Merkel while receiving the vaccine, but her spokesman shared a photo of her vaccine certificate.

Germany’s Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz also received his first shot on Friday and preferred the AstraZeneca vaccine, in order to boost public confidence after reports of very rare but serious side effects.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirmed last week a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca vaccine and very rare cases of unusual blood clots, occurring within two weeks of vaccination.

However, the agency upheld its recommendation to continue using the vaccine, saying the “benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects.”​​​​​​​

More than 200 million individuals have received the AstraZeneca vaccine around the world and the reported side effects have been very rare, according to health authorities.

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